Missouri death row inmate Joseph Franklin has an unexpected advocate for the stoppage of his planned execution.
Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri Foundation filed a motion in federal court to have documentation concerning Franklin’s planned execution unsealed.
Flynt was paralyzed from the waist down in 1978 after being shot by Franklin in Georgia in retaliation for Hustler containing an interracial photo spread. Franklin is facing execution for committing multiple murders.
Flynt is a long time opponent of the death penalty. ACLU-MO Legal Director Tony Rothert says the ACLU filed the motion on the behalf of Flynt, who believes the public has a right to see the documentation for the case.
“He also believes that if the public did know the lengths that Missouri was going to carry out executions that the public would be opposed,” Rothert said.
In a recent column Flynt wrote for The Hollywood Reporter, Flynt says that life in a 3-by-6 prison cell is far worse than death by lethal injection and Flynt contends it would cut the expenses of long and complex judicial processes.
MU journalism professor Sandy Davidson says the ACLU want to call into question the reliability of the anesthesiologist on the execution team, only identified as M3. The testimony of M3 supposedly allowed the court to satisfy Eighth Amendment rights in regards to cruelty in the Franklin case.
"The American Board of Anesthesiologists forbids members from participating in capital punishments," Davidson said. "There’s the question, ‘Is M3 certified?’ And the ACLU is apparently saying if so, only because the state is abetting him.”
Davidson says the request for access to information has First Amendment implications, something that Flynt has a long history with.
“Larry Flynt has made so much case law, across so many different aspects of the First Amendment that I’ve threatened to do a course on Larry Flynt,” Davidson said.
An execution last month was canceled after the European Union threatened to limit exports of propofol, a general anesthetic that was going to be used in the executions, to the United States if Missouri followed through with its executions.