News Releases


The execution of Thomas M. Thompson, convicted of murder in Orange County, has been set by court order for July 14, 1998 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, 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 that apply.

Up to 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 (one from Associated Press and one from Orange County Register), and one audio engineer. Broadcast microwave and satellite vans and their support personnel providing “live feeds” 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 supplied by the media pool organizers. 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. The selections will be determined immediately after the filing period closes. Fax or telephone requests will NOT be accepted. All requests must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, July 3, 1998.

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 filing period closes July 3, including for personnel substitutions, will be completed in time to permit access to the prison July 14.

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.