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Sunday, July 8, 2007


Gov. Matt Blunt on June 30 signed into law legislation making it illegal to disclose the identity of those who carry out the state’s executions. HB 820 came in response to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story published last year that revealed the name of the doctor who oversaw executions for the Missouri Department of Corrections.

The newspaper reported that Dr. Alan Doerhoff of Jefferson City, who participated in numerous executions for the state, had been sued more than 20 times for malpractice. In testifying anonymously before a federal court that was considering the constitutionality of Missouri’s execution procedures, Doerhoff said he was dyslexic and sometimes didn’t give condemned prisoners the proper amount of anesthesia.

The new law, which takes effect Aug. 28, could be subject to a legal challenge as an unconstitutional “prior restraint” on the publication of truthful information. The Missouri Press Association told The Associated Press that it had made no decision on whether to file a lawsuit.

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