KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri says the U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee a reporter or anyone else a right to see executions.
The state is pressing a federal judge to throw out Buzzfeed News reporter Christopher McDaniel’s lawsuit over Missouri’s decision to exclude him from witnessing executions. Missouri also says in court documents last week that it has legal immunity from such lawsuits.
McDaniel argues that someone volunteers to witness an execution and courts have acknowledged it’s unconstitutional to deprive someone from volunteering, saying they’re exercising their free-speech rights.
In applying to be a witness in January 2014, McDaniel said he wanted “to ensure that executions are carried out in a constitutional manner.” McDaniel never got a reply. Seventeen executions have been carried out by the state since. The next scheduled execution is Jan. 31.