PJI Files Lawsuit Alleging the Department of Public Safety and Corrections Violated State Open Meetings Laws
On March 17, 2015, PJI filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sidney Garmon, Director of the Louisiana Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, alleging that the Department of Public Safety and Corrections violated state Open Meetings Laws by excluding the public from committee meetings held to comply with HR 142, a House Resolution directing the Department to determine the “most humane methods” of execution. The committee included the Secretary, Warden Cain, five other department employees and two lawyers from a law firm that represents the DOC . The committee met at least seven times in secret, with no public notice or opportunity for input. It ultimately determined that Louisiana should execute its prisoners by lethal gas, and that the death penalty in Louisiana should involve more secrecy. Ms. Garmon was excluded from these meetings and prevented from doing an important aspect of her work as Director, which is to work with policymakers to reform the death penalty and implement alternatives to this costly and arbitrary punishment.