The ACLU of Montana most recently filed a brief in July 2013 calling for the District Court to declare the Department of Corrections new two-drug lethal injection protocol unlawful because it creates an unreasonable risk of subjecting prisoners to cruel and unusual punishment, violates the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government and was not written in accordance with the public partcipation procedures outlined in the Montana Administrative Procedures Act.
The new execution protocol, written solely by DOC staff without consultation with scientific or medical experts, was written in reponse to a September 2012 ruling by District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock that Montana's lethal injection protocol is unconstitutional. That ruling was in response to a suit filed in March 2008 by the ACLU of Montana and co-operating attorneys, Ron Waterman and Julie Johnson from Gough, Shanahan, Johnson and Waterman in Helena, and Greg Jackson of Helena, on behalf of Ronald Allen Smith, challenging the lethal injection procedure in Montana.
The original petition asserted that the lethal injection procedure used to execute people in Montana is unconstitutional as a violation of cruel and unusual punishment, the right of human dignity and a violation of the Montana constitutional provision on right to know public documents and proceedings. In April 2009, the ACLU of Montana and Ron Waterman, Julie Johnson and Greg Jackson followed up with motion for partial summary judgement calling for the selection criteria and qualifications of executioners be made public under the state's right to know provision so that the public can be informed about whether executioners are qualified to perform the complicated three-step lethal injection procedure.
District Court Order ruling Montana's lethal injection protocol unconstitutional
Motion for Summary Judgment - May 2012
- Exhibit 1 Order prohibiting importation of thiopental into the U.S.
- Exhibit 2 American Veterinary Medical Association Guidelines on Euthanasia
- Exhibit 3 Arizona execution protocol
- Exhibit 4 Idaho execution protocol
Ron Waterman and Julie Johnson, Gough, Shanahan, Johnson and Waterman, Helena.
Greg Jackson, Helena
Revised Execution Protocol Remains Unconstitutional - 7/15/2013
- Q&A on new protocol
Montana's Execution Protocol Ruled Unconstitutional - September 2012
ACLU Calls on Montana District Court to Rule State Execution Protocol Unconstitutional - 7/30/2012
State's New Execution Protocol Fails to Resolve Issues: Policy does not require sufficient training to ensure prisoner won't suffer - 8/17/2011
Lawsuit Seeks Disclosure of Executioner Qualifications - 4/2/2009