AG seeks dismissal of suit seeking lethal-injection documents


LITTLE ROCK — Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on Friday asked a Pulaski County circuit judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking the release of information about the drugs that the state plans to use to carry out lethal injections.

Attorney Jeff Rosenzweig filed the suit in Pulaski County Circuit Court on Monday on behalf of several death-row inmates who allege that the Department of Correction did not fully comply with their Freedom of information Act request for documents about the drugs.

In a filing Friday, the attorney general’s office said the documents are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act under Act 139 of 2013.

Act 139 was enacted in response to a state Supreme Court ruling last year that the state’s previous lethal-injection law gave too much discretion to the DOC director, in violation of the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers. The law sets forth the types of drugs that the Department of Correction can use for lethal injections and states that the specific procedures for carrying out the death penalty “are not subject to disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.”

Also Monday, the attorney general’s office asked the state Supreme Court for an expedited review of the constitutionality of Act 139.

Six inmates who have been under stays of execution have asked the high court not to lift the stays, arguing that the constitutionality of Act 139 is in question.

In its filing with the court Friday, the attorney general’s office said it had no objection to the stays remaining in place until the court has ruled on the act and asked that it do so promptly, without opening a new case.