STEPHEN MICHAEL WEST, ET AL. V. DERRICK D. SCHOFIELD, ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Sep 29, 2014

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Joseph F. Whalen, Solicitor General; Kyle Alexander Hixson, Assistant Attorney General; Andrew Hamilton Smith, Assistant Attorney General; and Nicholas White Spangler, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants/defendants, Derrick D. Schofield, Wayne Carpenter, Tony Mays, Jason Woodall, Tony Parker, John Doe Physicians 1-100, John Doe Pharmacists 1-100, John Doe Medical Examiners 1-100, John Doe Medical Personnel 1-100, John Doe Executioners 1- 100, and Tennessee Department of Corrections.

Attorneys 2:

Stephen M. Kissinger and Helen Susanne Bales, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees/plaintiffs, Stephen Michael West, Nicholas Todd Sutton, David Earl Miller, and Olen Edward Hutchison.

Carl Eugene Shiles, Jr. and William J. Rieder, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee/plaintiff, Billy Ray Irick.

Kelly Jane Henry and Michael J. Passino, Nashville, Tennessee, for intervening appellees/plaintiffs, Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman, Donald R. Johnson, Donald Wayne Strouth, Charles Walton Wright, and Edmund George Zagorski.

Kelly A. Gleason, Nashville, Tennessee, for intervening appellee/plaintiff, Lee Hall, Jr.

Judge(s): MCBRAYER

This case asks us to interpret an exception to the Tennessee Public Records Act, Tennessee Code Annotated section 10-7-504(h), to determine whether it creates a privilege protecting the identities of persons involved in carrying out a sentence of death from pretrial discovery. This question arises from litigation in which Appellees, who are death row inmates, challenge the constitutionality of the Tennessee Department of Correction’s Execution Procedures for Lethal Injection on various grounds. In prosecuting their case, Appellees requested the identities of certain John Doe Defendants involved in the execution process, but the State refused to produce this information. On a motion to compel, the trial court ordered the disclosure of the John Doe Defendants’ identities subject to an agreed protective order. We find the information sought by Appellees is relevant and is not privileged under Tennessee Code Annotated section 10-7-504(h). The decision of the trial court is affirmed.

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