- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Four news organizations asked a federal judge in Harrisburg on Thursday to unseal information about where the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections plans to get drugs for use in executing inmates.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia City Paper, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Guardian U.S. filed an emergency motion to intervene in a long-running federal lawsuit that challenges the state’s execution procedures.

The newspapers said the Corrections Department has contracted with compounding pharmacies to obtain the drugs, but the court has prevented disclosure of the names of those pharmacies.

The papers wrote they wanted the information “in order to investigate the quality of the provenance of these drugs and to make the information available to the public as part of the ongoing public debate about the use of lethal injection.”

The execution of Hubert Lester Michael Jr. has been scheduled for Sept. 22, but it is on hold while the full 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decides whether to reconsider a three-judge ruling against Michael earlier this year.

Michael was convicted of the 1993 murder of 16-year-old Trista Eng in York County.

Pennsylvania has only executed three people since the death penalty was reinstated in the 1970s, most recently Gary Heindik in 1999. All three had given up on their appeals.

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