Ga. high court upholds execution drug secrecy law

by KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press


ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's highest court has ruled a state law that makes the identity of an execution drug supplier a "confidential state secret" is constitutional.

In a 5-to-2 decision Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that granted a stay of execution to death row inmate Warren Lee Hill. The stay was issued after Hill's lawyers challenged the constitutionality of the 2013 law.

The majority opinion says keeping secret the identity of entities involved in an execution can shield them from harassment or retaliation. It added that, without that confidentiality, there is a risk that entities needed for an execution might be unwilling to participate.

The dissenting opinion says the secrecy law puts the state on a path to violate the due process rights of death row inmates.

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