Secrecy surrounding Missouri’s death penalty has garnered Gov. Jay Nixon a “Golden Padlock” designation from a national journalism organization.
The award, handed out by Investigative Reporters and Editors, is designed to “honor” the most secretive U.S. agency or individual.
Nixon shared the award with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who also supported secrecy involving executions in that state, and the U.S. Navy Freedom of Information Act office, which won for blocking access to records about a deadly shooting rampage in Washington, D.C., that killed 12 people last year.
From the IRE’s announcment:
“After Missouri announced last year it was making the state’s execution drug supplier a legally protected secret, officials began redacting all identifying information in response to freedom of information requests. When journalists eventually learned the name of the hidden supplier, they reported the company was not licensed in the state, had been cited in the past by regulatory agencies and was paid thousands of dollars for its services in cash deliveries by a high-ranking state official. Rather than embracing greater openness and transparency following the revelations, the state again shrouded its new, unknown execution drug supplier in secrecy where it remains today.”
The Kansas City Star, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Springfield News-Leader, Associated Press and The Guardian U.S. sued the Missouri Department of Corrections earlier this year arguing that the department is violating the First Amendment by refusing to identify the sources of lethal drugs used in its executions.
Another execution in Missouri is scheduled for Aug. 6.