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Trial begins in lawsuit over Idaho execution records

Posted at 11:43 AM, Jan 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-28 13:43:35-05

BOISE — An attorney for a University of Idaho professor seeking access to public records on drugs used during Idaho's most recent executions says the Idaho Department of Correction acted in bad faith and frivolously denied her access to the documents.

Molly Kafka, an ACLU-Idaho attorney representing Professor Aliza Cover, made the argument during opening statements in Ada County's Fourth District Court Monday morning.

Cover and the ACLU sued the Idaho Department of Correction last year, asking a judge to force the state to turn over the documents, so the public can assess the suitability of the drugs and how they were obtained.

IDOC attorney Jessica Kuehn told Judge Lynn Norton that the state has already given Cover all the records that could be legally released under department rules -- and that IDOC officials even provided her more information that was tangentially related to her request in the interest of transparency.

Kuehn said the records that were withheld weren't subject to release because the Idaho Board of Correction has the discretion under state law to exempt the release of records that could threaten security or otherwise prevent the department from carrying out executions.

(by Rebecca Boone, Associated Press)