Press Access

Death Penalty Reporter’s Case For Access Can Move Forward

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Buzzfeed News investigative reporter Chris McDaniel can move forward with his lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Corrections to be allowed to witness executions, a federal appellate court held.

McDaniel— who covers the death penalty and executions— filed a lawsuit together with the ACLU against the Missouri Department of Corrections in 2016 claiming that the state had barred him from being an execution witness because his reporting had been critical of the state’s legal injection protocol. His attorney argued that it was a violation of his constitutional rights because, according to the complaint, the Department’s witness selection policies “provide the opportunity for discrimination based on viewpoint or retaliation for First Amendment protected activity…” The Department of Corrections moved to dismiss the case, but a court ruled this past month that the case can proceed.

The Columbia Journalism Review profiled McDaniel and his lengthy struggle for access.

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Documents & Resources

Opinion McDaniel Complaint