Larry Flynt Wins Right to Access Missouri Execution Records

ST. LOUIS — LFP Inc. founder Larry Flynt was successful in an appeal that resulted in a ruling that he has a right to join death row inmates in lawsuits seeking to reveal the state of Missouri’s execution protocols.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that a federal judge applied the incorrect legal standard in deciding that Flynt's "generalized interest" in the lawsuit did not justify his being part of the case.

Flynt argued he had an interest because he was one of the victims of the white supremacist Joseph Paul Franklin, who attempted to assassinate him.

Franklin was upset that Hustler published pornographic images of an interracial couple, and shot Flynt on the steps of a Georgia courthouse in 1978, paralyzing him.

Years later, Flynt was vocal about saving Franklin from death, and challenged the methodology of execution and its lack of transparency.  

Franklin, however, was executed in November 2013 for killing Gerald Gordon in a sniper attack on a St. Louis synagogue in 1977. He was convicted of seven other murders and claimed responsibility for up to 20 others in a cross-country racist killing spree from 1977 to 1980.

In the appeal, Flynt invoked a First Amendment right to view 20 sealed documents from the underlying effort to learn more details about the state's execution protocol.

It was not immediately clear whether the state of Missouri, which opposed Flynt's request, planned to appeal Tuesday's ruling by the 8th Circuit.

View today's ruling