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

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Mar 10, 2015

Head Comment: With concurring opinion.

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrée S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; and Jennifer L. Smith, Deputy Attorney General, for the appellants, 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, and John Doe Executioners 1-100.

Attorneys 2:

Stephen M. Kissinger and Susanne Bales, Assistant Federal Community Defenders, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Stephen Michael West, Nicholas Todd Sutton, and David Earl Miller.

Kelley J. Henry, Supervisory Assistant Federal Public Defender, and Michael J. Passino, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Nashville, Tennessee, for the intervening appellees, Abu- Ali Abdur’Rahman, Donald R. Johnson, Donald Wayne Strouth, Charles Walton Wright, and Edmund George Zagorski.

C. Gene Shiles, Jr., and William J. Rieder, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Billy Ray Irick.

Kelly A. Gleason and Jonathan King, Assistant Post-Conviction Defenders, Nashville, Tennessee, for the intervening appellee, Lee Hall, Jr.

Judge(s): BIVINS

We granted the State of Tennessee permission to appeal from the Court of Appeals’ decision on interlocutory appeal in which the intermediate appellate court affirmed the trial court’s order compelling discovery in this declaratory judgment action. The Plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the lethal injection protocol in place for the execution of convicted criminal defendants sentenced to death is unconstitutional. In conjunction with pursuing their claim, the Plaintiffs sought to discover the identity of persons involved in facilitating and carrying out executions. Over the State’s objection, the trial court ordered the State to provide these identities to the Plaintiffs, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s order. Upon due consideration, we reverse and remand this matter for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion and in compliance with the timelines set forth in the judgment order filed contemporaneously with this Opinion.