HARRISBURG - A federal judge is barring state officials from using curtains and other methods to prevent witnesses from seeing and hearing parts of Thursday's scheduled execution.

U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane ruled Tuesday in favor of two newspapers - The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Patriot-News of Harrisburg - that have challenged the execution protocol that governs how much of the process should be open to witnesses.

The judge says witnesses at the scheduled execution of Hubert Michael must be allowed "full visual and auditory observation" of what goes on.

In the past, the state Department of Corrections has used curtains to block witnesses' view of the process until after an intravenous line is inserted for the lethal injection.

Department spokeswoman Susan McNaughton says officials are weighing whether to appeal the ruling.