Wednesday, July 30, 1997


The California Department of Corrections has completed processing security clearances for media firms requesting to send representatives to San Quentin State Prison for the August 5 execution of Thomas M. Thompson.

Firms have been contacted by telephone with the information on clearances for their staff members.

The following information should be distributed to all media representatives that will be involved as witnesses or participants of the news conference at San Quentin State Prison.

On August 4, 1997, media may enter the West Gate of San Quentin between 7 AM and 2 PM. For security purposes, two forms of identification will be required. One must be an official photo ID such as driver's license, passport, or state-issued identification card. Only those credentialed for the news conference will be permitted. Any media representative that leaves the prison after 2 PM will not be permitted to return at a later time that day.

Media witnesses to the execution may enter as late as 5 PM through the West Gate of the prison.

Do not wear blue, black, or gray denim clothing or yellow raincoats. It is illegal to bring alcohol, drugs, or weapons into a California State Prison. Vehicles and individuals entering a California State Prison are subject to search.

Private vehicles, except for designated microwave or satellite broadcast trucks, will be parked near the West Gate. After credentials are confirmed, reporters will be transported by prison shuttle to the Media Center.

A video/audio feed for broadcasters of the media witness news conference is limited to two camera operators and two audio technicians. The broadcast vans facilitating distribution of the feed will be parked closest to the building.

Media movement will be restricted to the Media Center (In-Service Training (IST) building) and broadcast support area. No access will be permitted to the East Gate.

Still photos of the news conference will be provided by an Associated Press pool photographer.

Media witnesses to the execution will be escorted to the IST building immediately after leaving the witness observation area. Media witnesses must agree to make themselves available to members of the pool for interviews after the initial press conference.

The IST building has 60 amp electrical service with a limited number of outlets. There are 7 pay telephones.

Thursday, July 3, 1997


The execution of Thomas M. Thompson, convicted of murder in Orange County, has been set by court order for August 5, 1997 at San Quentin State Prison.

Direct all requests and inquiries regarding access to San Quentin to the California Department of Corrections Communications Office in Sacramento which is responsible for all media credentials.

Up to seventeen (17) news media representatives may be selected to witness the execution as a pool for all media. Positions are designated for Associated Press, United Press International, the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and Sacramento Bee. Two newspaper positions will be chosen at random from California newspapers with daily circulation of 100,000 and above who apply. Eight broadcast news positions will be selected at random from California radio and television stations holding a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license to broadcast who apply.

Up to one hundred twenty five (125) news media representatives will be admitted to the media center at San Quentin to attend news briefings and a news conference with members of the media witness pool after the execution. To accommodate as many media firms as possible, each news media organization applying will be limited to one representative. Firms selected to send a news reporter to witness the execution will be allowed a separate representative for the media center.

In anticipation that interest may exceed space, pool arrangements will be necessary for video/audio feeds, and still photos. The pool will be limited to two television camera operators, two still photographers, and one audio engineer.

Broadcast microwave and satellite vans and their support personnel will be permitted in a parking lot adjacent to the In-Service Training (IST) building. Space is limited to about 30 vehicles, including an electrical power generator and a catering truck. Priority will be given to broadcast media sending "live" reports serving viewers in the Orange County area and multiple stations statewide. Television vans will be allowed up to four (4) support personnel (engineer, producer, talent, and camera operator) in addition to the reporter for the media center. Radio broadcast vans will be allowed three (3) support personnel (engineer, producer, and talent) in addition to the media center reporter.

For media credentials, send a written request signed by the news department manager on company letterhead with the names of the proposed representatives, their dates of birth, driver's license numbers, social security numbers, and size of vehicle (for broadcast van access) to:

CDC Communications
1515 S Street, Room 113S
P.O. Box 942883
Sacramento, CA 94283-0001

Please specify if the request also is to be included in the media witness pool selection process.

Fax or telephone requests will not be accepted. All requests must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 29, 1997. Security clearances are required for each individual applying for access to San Quentin. The clearance process will begin after the application deadline. No assurances can be provided that security clearances for applications received after the July 29 deadline, including for personnel substitutions, will be completed in time to permit access to the prison August 4.

The building being used for the media center has 60 amp electrical service with a limited number of outlets. There are 7 pay telephones. The media pool will be responsible for providing a generator for electrical power and a catering service. Media orders for private telephone hookups must be arranged with Pacific Telephone which will coordinate the actual installation with San Quentin.