Recent reports of solitary’s harmful effects have helped bolster cases in multiple states where the capitally-condemned await their fates.
When Emily Hopkins requested death penalty procedures from the Utah Department of Corrections in 2015, they were met with a rejection, and after that a denied appeal. However, whether it was the result of a new public records officer or a change in UDC policy, a request filed this year led to the release of the Technical Manual used in carrying out executions, including procedures for the firing squad.
Chris McDaniel is currently a reporter for BuzzFeed News covering execution drugs. This week, Chris lets us in on some helpful FOIA tricks, tells us how the Missouri DOC paid executioners in cash, and talks about battling increasing secrecy in the death penalty world.
There is a lot of common lore surrounding logistics of firing squads - one gun contains a blanks, executioners aim for the heart, not the head, there may be a blindfold and a cigarette. But what’s actually on the books is a bit of a mystery, and in Utah, where a shortage of lethal drugs has brought the firing squad out of retirement, no light is going to be shed on the issue anytime soon.