Advance Local Media, LLC v. Commissioner, Alabama Department of Corrections, No. 18-10636 (11th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
In the underlying action, a death row inmate brought an as-applied challenge to Alabama's lethal injection protocol. After the inmate's case was dismissed, members of the press intervened, seeking access to the protocol.
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to grant intervenors access to a redacted version of the protocol. The court held that Alabama's lethal injection protocol—submitted to the court in connection with a litigated dispute, discussed in proceedings and motions by all parties, and relied upon by the court to dispose of substantive motions—was a judicial record. The court explained that the public had a valid interest in accessing these records to ensure the continued integrity and transparency of our governmental and judicial offices. In this case, the district court did not abuse its discretion in balancing the interests of Alabama, and the intervenors and concluding that Alabama had not shown good cause sufficient to overcome the common law right of access. Furthermore, the district court also properly granted intervention under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 for intervenors seeking to assert their common law right of access to the lethal injection protocol.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on February 22, 2018.