Alliance Joins Brief Supporting NPR’s Request for Access to Prison Execution Tapes

On February 1, 2024, the Alliance joined a brief in National Public Radio (“NPR”) v. Virginia Department of Corrections (“Va. Doc”), filed in the Virginia Court of Appeals in support of NPR’s attempt to obtain audio tapes of former executions from the Va. DOC under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act. The Va. DOC is refusing to release the tapes, claiming refuge under a broad exemption in the statute for “records of persons imprisoned in penal institutions in the Commonwealth”. The brief, filed by Ballard Spahr, challenges the lower court’s broad interpretation that the statute shields the requested audio recordings from public review. The brief argues that the statute must be interpreted with the goal of maximum public disclosure where disclosure serves a significant public interest, as is the case here where the public has a significant interest in information about the implementation of the death penalty and more broadly for transparency in government actions.


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