Judge: Alabama may keep execution records secret

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – A judge will not force Alabama to release records from recent lethal injections, including one in which the inmate coughed for 13 minutes.

Montgomery Circuit Judge J.R. Gaines on Monday refused to make the Alabama Department of Correction release execution logs. Alabama death row inmate Tommy Arthur had gone to court after the prison system refused his public records request seeking the logs and other records. Arthur is scheduled to be executed May 25.

Gaines said “any release of the execution logs would be detrimental to the best interests of the public.”

Arthur’s lawyers argued that witness accounts suggested executed inmates might not have been fully anesthetized after being given the sedative midazolam.

The state said Arthur was attempting to fish for material to try and block his upcoming execution.

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