Missouri governor signs bill closing executioners' identity

Monday, July 2, 2007

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Gov. Matt Blunt signs a bill making secret the identities of people who carry out executions in Missouri.

The measure allows lawsuits against the media or others who disclose that information.

Supporters say the bill is an important protection against threats to workers just doing their jobs. But critics counter that the bill further shrouds the death penalty process in secrecy and violates First Amendment protections.

Last summer, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed the identity of Dr. Alan Doerhoff of Jefferson City. Doerhoff participated in dozens of executions and testified to a federal judge in a lawsuit challenging lethal injection.

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