How is one invited to the execution of someone on Death Row?
February 9, 2015 3:03 PM   Subscribe

How is one invited to the execution of someone on Death Row? This is research for a story. I am hoping to get some specific details before I reach out to my sources.
  • When the convicted person is scheduled to be executed, how are the victim’s loved ones informed? Do they get a bureaucratic form letter, or does someone call them? Who would that be?
  • Do they have to submit paperwork and is there a vetting process to attend?
  • How far in advance are they informed of the scheduled execution date?
Thank you!
posted by Ink-stained wretch to Law & Government (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Almost certainly set by state law. If you call the main communications office for your state corrections department & tell them you're a journalist, they'll tell you more than you want to know.
posted by Mr. Justice at 7:29 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

I work for a chain of local newspapers; one of our reporters witnessed an execution. He was invited because he applied as a journalist (and could prove it, with official press credentials, a notarized statement from the editor that he was a current employee etc.), and the dude being executed was convicted of a pretty vicious crime here in our coverage area, therefore it was very much local news. Witness slots are very limited, and our reporter was one of only two to be there.

There are actually four possible categories of viewers: the official government witnesses, reporters, representatives of the victim's family (could be either family members or their lawyers), and a representative of the convicted criminal (usually his lawyer).
posted by easily confused at 6:11 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

A former co-worker witnessed an execution here in Florida when she worked for Attorney General's office, I believe, maybe one of the local circuit courts. In any case, she is a lawyer with the State, and was invited to go along because she was mentored by/assisting with the case for an attorney who prosecuted the case on behalf of the state.

I mention that she was definitely assisting and an extremely junior attorney when she did this--she definitely wasn't prosecuting the case herself.
posted by PearlRose at 11:18 AM on February 10, 2015

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