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Courts and Crime


ACLU sues over Ohio denying journalists access to Lucasville riot prisoners
Journalists and prisoners maintain the state is trying to censor and quell "public discourse on critical issues"
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
In The Region:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is suing the state for denying interviews with five prisoners on death row for their parts in the Lucasville prison riot 20 years ago. 

The ACLU is suing on behalf of reporters and a college instructor, as well as the five prisoners. 

Prison officials have turned down interview requests because the prisoners are under highest security. But the ACLU’s legal director, James Hardiman, argues that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections has allowed journalists to interview other death row inmates, and that the state is trying to stifle public debate. 

LISTEN: Hardiman on change in the Lucasville prisoners

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“The people that I represent are not the same people today that they were in 1993. I was really impressed with what they had to tell me, their intelligence, their ability to articulate and explain their position. These people are poster children for why we should not have a death penalty.”

 But Hardiman notes this suit is over press access, not the death penalty itself. 

Twelve guards were taken hostage during the 11-day riot, and one – Robert Vallandingham – was killed. Nine prisoners also were killed.

Sentenced to death for their parts in the riot were Carlos Sanders, now known as Siddique Abdullah Hasan; Jason Robb; George Skatzes; James Were, now known as Namir Abdul Mateen and Keith LaMar.

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