Kentucky Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, April 16, 2008, 10:50:05 PM

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My question is : "Where is the respect for the victim ?" Caudill broke her life >:( >:( I have another question to Miss Wherle : "Do you think about the pain of the victim's family ?"  :-\ :-\ I hope that Justice will work and execute Caudill and Goforth  :( :( :( :(



Ky. on verge of execution flurry

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky has executed rarely since the reinstatement of the death penalty three decades ago, but a half-dozen inmates could exhaust their appeals by the end of the year.

The state is on the verge of re-enacting the process that uses a three-drug cocktail to execute inmates, and could start setting execution dates for multiple inmates by early summer. Among those whose appeals have run out are Ralph Stevens Baze, convicted in 1992 of killing Powell County Deputy Arthur Briscoe and Sheriff Steve Bennett.

"I'll be glad when the chapter on Ralph Baze is closed," said Rose Bennett, the widow of the sheriff and sister of the deputy. "I do believe his execution should be carried out."

That day could come soon. Baze is one of three inmates with pending warrants who could see an execution date set once the state's lethal injection protocol is re-implemented. Those inmates could set the stage for Kentucky -- which last executed an inmate in 2008 -- to have as many executions in 2010 as it has had since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.

And, it could just be the first of as many as a half-dozen inmates facing execution dates in the next year.

The state embarked on re-implementing its three-drug cocktail in January, weeks after the state Supreme Court halted all executions, saying state officials improperly adopted the lethal injection process.

The order stopped Gov. Steve Beshear from acting on requests to set dates for Baze, Gregory L. Wilson, convicted of a rape and murder in northern Kentucky in 1987, and Robert Carl Foley, awaiting execution for six killings in eastern Kentucky.

The protocol is on course to take effect no later than by May 7. Should that happen, Kentucky could start executing inmates in early June.

"This is only temporary," said public defender David Barron, who represents Baze, of the halt in lethal injections.

Shelley Catherine Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Attorney General's office, said warrants for Wilson, Baze and Foley, requested in November, remain pending before Beshear. Johnson would not discuss whether any more warrants would be sought should the protocol be re-implemented by May.

"The status of death row inmate cases is continually changing, it would be premature for us to talk about any additional warrants in advance of the Governor signing the protocol," Johnson said.

Wilson and Baze, on death row for a collective 38 years, have run through their appeals. Foley lost before the Kentucky Supreme Court last month. Benny Lee Hodge, condemned to death in two cases, is awaiting a final decision about whether the U.S. Supreme Court will hear his case.

And two inmates, Shawn Windsor and James Hunt, both on death row in separate cases for killing family members, have sought to fire their attorneys and end appeals, potentially hastening their deaths.

The prospect of looming executions also has attorneys for the condemned looking for ways to aide their clients.

Dan Goyette, a Louisville public defender who represents Wilson, is exploring ways to keep his client alive.

"We're coming down the final stretch," Goyette told The Associated Press.

Barron is preparing a clemency petition for Baze in anticipation of an execution date being set. Barron has also petitioned a federal judge to gain access to prison personnel who could talk about his client.

While Kentucky won't catch Texas in frequency of executions, the pending reenactment of the protocols and the ending of appeals has death row inmates nervous.

"We know they're going to try again soon," Baze told The Associated Press. "I just hope I hold up mentally now."

For Bennett, who has seen three scheduled execution dates for Baze halted, the execution will be a relief, even if she doesn't plan to attend.

"I don't need to see that man die," Bennett said. "I don't have to see his eyes close."
I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

heidi salazar

Ky. High Court Hears Challenge To DNA Testing Law

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky Supreme Court is set to hear a challenge to the scope of the state's law allowing DNA testing in older death penalty cases.

The challenge, brought by condemned inmate Thomas Clyde Bowling, seeks to have the court rule that the law allows for multiple tests of evidence instead of just a single examination.

A judge sentenced the 57-year-old Bowling to death on Jan. 4, 1991, in Lexington for the shooting deaths of Eddie and Tina Early. The husband and wife were shot on the morning of April 9, 1990, while sitting in their car before opening their family-owned dry cleaning business. Their 2-year-old son was injured, but survived the attack.

DNA testing in Bowling's case found genetic material from multiple people on some evidence, but a judge said the law didn't allow further testing to either eliminate Bowling or implicate someone else.


Inmates Challenge New Execution Method In Ky.

Kentucky's new method for executing prisoners by lethal injection is set to take effect, but 3 condemned inmates have asked a judge to stop the state from using it.

Death row inmates Ralph Stevens Baze, Thomas Clyde Bowling and Brian Keith Moore filed a motion Friday in Franklin Circuit Court through public defender David Barron. The motion asks a judge to declare the state violated a Kentucky Supreme Court order in the way it adopted the new method.

A hearing is set for May 19.

The challenge says the state fails to spell out how the chemicals would be injected, authorizes unqualified people to insert intravenous lines and doesn't allow death row inmates to address a public hearing about the protocol.

(source: Associated Press)

heidi salazar

Ky. judge weighs challenge to lethal injection

A state judge said Wednesday he would soon decide whether 3 death row inmates have properly challenged the way the state's new lethal injection protocol was adopted and possibly on the merits of whether the method itself needs to be re-examined.

"These questions need to be answered and they need to be answered promptly," said Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd.

The state Supreme Court in November barred Kentucky from conducting executions, finding that officials improperly adopted the 3-drug injection method. The state Justice Cabinet, which oversees the protocol, adopted some changes to it and a pair of legislative committees approved the method.

The new procedure went into effect May 7, but no death warrants have been issued since. Attorneys for the state says there is nothing that prevents executions from being set.

Shepherd noted that warrants could come "at any time."

The suing inmates, Ralph Stevens Baze, Thomas Clyde Bowling and Brian Keith Moore, revived a closed lawsuit and asked Shepherd to find that Kentucky violated the state Supreme Court order in the way it adopted the new method.

Attorneys for the state say a new lawsuit may need to be filed to challenge the method, an argument Shepherd said he'll consider before weighing in on how it was adopted.

Warrant requests on Baze and 2 other inmates have been pending since November. Public defender David Barron, who represents the inmates, said Gov. Steve Beshear's office has set a deadline to provide mitigating information before a decision is made on a warrant. That could come by next week, he said.

Steve Lynn and Brenn Combs, attorneys for the Kentucky Department of Corrections, said though no warrants have been signed, there are no orders preventing an execution from going forward.

An after hours call to Kerri Richardson, a spokeswoman for Beshear, was not immediately returned Wednesday.

The challenge Shepherd heard raises similar concerns to the old one. It claims the state failed to spell out how the chemicals would be injected, authorizing people not qualified to insert intravenous lines to handle the execution and not allowing death row inmates to address a public hearing about the 3-drug protocol.

Barron said Kentucky's new protocol has multiple violations of high court order, including a lack of specificity about how the drugs are mixed and that condemned inmates were not allowed to speak at the public hearing on the method.

"The court is effectively saying all executions are prohibited until the protocols are properly in place," Barron said.

Combs said the regulations governing a lethal injection are specific enough to provide instruction on how to carry out an execution without being so specific as to give away security information or limit the flexibility of the execution team.

Combs said inmates weren't brought to Frankfort for the public hearing in January for logistical reasons and because the state wasn't obligated.

"There is no law in Kentucky that lets us take any prisoner in any jail to every public hearing," Combs said. "It is an impossibility for us to bring all of the inmates."

When the high court halted executions, warrant requests were pending for Baze, 54, who was sentenced to death in 1992 for killing a Powell County sheriff and deputy, Robert Carl Foley, 53, awaiting execution for the slayings of 6 people in 2 incidents, and Gregory Lee Wilson, 53, condemned for kidnapping, raping and killing a woman in northern Kentucky in 1988.

The Attorney General's office does not currently have requests for death warrants for Bowling, condemned to death for a double murder in Lexington in 1990, and Moore, sentenced to death for a 1979 murder in Louisville.

Kentucky has executed three people since 1976. Harold McQueen was executed in the electric chair in 1997 for killing a convenience store clerk in 1981. Eddie Lee Harper was executed by lethal injection in 1999. Marco Allen Chapman was executed by lethal injection in November.

(source: Lexington Herald-Leader)


Ky.'s lethal injection drugs challenged

On the heels of 2 states switching to a single-drug execution method, a defense attorney representing multiple Kentucky death row inmates wants a judge to consider if the state's 3-drug protocol is unconstitutionally cruel.

Public defender David Barron said Ohio's successful use of one dose of sodium thiopental to execute inmates is proof that there are safer, quicker and less painful methods of carrying out a death sentence. If Barron is successful, Kentucky could be forced to switch to a one-drug execution method. Barron filed suit in Franklin Circuit Court on Friday, asking Judge Phillip Shepherd to reopen an ongoing challenge to Kentucky's method and consider forcing the state to put a 1-drug execution protocol in place.

Ohio and Washington are the only 2 states to use 1 drug to execute condemned inmates.

(source: Associated Press)

heidi salazar

Note to self....

Heidi, If you are ever in Kentucky and receive a traffic ticket contact David Barron Atty at Law....he will fight your guilty ass all the way to the United States Supreme Court!  ::) He will use such a defense as STOP don't mean STOP in means rolling STOP...and in MS. Salazar's mind as she was rolling she said, "STOP 2,3,4" Pfft...I just won that case!! ;D

heidi salazar

Death Penalty Exemption?

Kentucky lawmakers are being urged by the mental health community to eliminate the death penalty for those with a severe mental illness.  But, the idea is getting a cool reception from lawmakers and prosecutors.

Mental health advocates claim defendants with a severe mental illness should be treated like juveniles and the mentally retarded in capital cases.  The U.S. Supreme Court has eliminated the death penalty for those two groups.

"It is time to remove this very, very small group of severely impaired individuals from the ultimate punishment," Sheila Schuster, mental health advocate, told lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

Experts say 2.6% of the population has a severe, persistent mental illness, such as being psychotic or dillusional.  "They really do not understand their actions and what they're doing, their volitions," said psychologist Russ Williams.

"There's a gap in our laws right now for a person who is not insane but they are more than impaired," said Ernie Lewis with the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

But, prosecutors are opposed to the idea.  "It is so broad this time that nearly every killer could qualify," Chris Cohron , Warren County Commonwealths Attorney told lawmakers.

Lawmakers also raised concerns.  "There is ample opportunity for that in the system," Rep. Harry Moberly, (D) Richmond, said of the ability of judges and juries to consider a defendant's mental state.  "Juries tend to bring this down to what's fair."

No bill has been pre filed for the 2011 legislative session.  Similar proposals during the 2009 and 2010 sessions failed to obtain a committee hearing.


"It is time to remove this very, very small group of severely impaired individuals from the ultimate punishment," Sheila Schuster, mental health advocate, told lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

Yeah, this 'very, very small group'.....  Pass that and every POS sitting on the row will argue that they have a 'severe mental illness' in one of their many appeals.   ::)


As a Kentucky resident and tax payer I can only hope that the Judiciary Committee is not swayed by this argument.  As Angelstorm says above every POS will use this as an excuse. 


From the Seattle Times 08/21.
A Kentucky judge on Friday expressed concern about the state's refusal to consider using one drug instead of three to execute condemned inmates, even though state law allows either method.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd said during a hearing in Frankfort that he may order Kentucky corrections officials to explain why the state is sticking with three drugs and apparently hasn't explored other options.

Kentucky's law allows lethal injection to be carried out by "injection of a substance or a combination of substances." But the procedure adopted in May is a three-drug protocol, without an option for using a single drug.

The hearing came in a challenge brought by two death row inmates who say Ohio's use of a single drug to execute eight inmates since December shows there's a safer way to carry out executions.

The hearing sought to reopen the landmark case brought by Kentucky death row inmates Ralph Baze and Thomas Clyde Bowling, who challenged lethal injection as cruel and unusual punishment. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Kentucky's use of the three-drug protocol in 2008.

Shepherd is also hearing a challenge brought by the same inmates to the way Kentucky adopted it's three-drug protocol. The inmates say the state skipped several key steps in holding public hearings in January.

Shepherd said he may merge the two challenges and hold a single hearing addressing issues in both, since the cases are intertwined.

Shepherd didn't immediately rule on the request to reopen the lawsuit. His decision making comes amid a backdrop of Ohio having executed eight inmates since December using a single overdose of sodium thiopental.

Ohio and Washington are the only states using one drug - a single dose of sodium thiopental - to execute condemned inmates. Oklahoma and California are considering a similar change.

Both states use sodium thiopental, a barbiturate often used to anesthetize surgical patients, induce medical comas or help desperately ill people commit suicide. It is also sometimes used to euthanize animals. It kills by suppressing breathing.

David Barron, the public defender representing Baze and Bowling, said Ohio's success in carrying out a single drug execution repeatedly shows there's a safer, less risky way to carry out capital punishment.

The information about a one-drug execution wasn't available when the high court delivered it's decision in 2008, but now that it is, the legal analysis of a three-drug execution could be changed, Barron said.
"We know now, with this method used in Ohio ... will probably cause death without any complications associated with it," Barron said.

Brenn Combs, an attorney for the Kentucky Department of Corrections, said both the U.S. Supreme Court and Kentucky Supreme Court have ruled that the state's three-drug method is constitutional. Unless either court changes it's mind, the decision by Ohio to make the switch to one drug isn't enough to force Kentucky to change, Combs said.

"It may be a fine method, but it's just not enough to show that the majority of other executions are invalid because of this small change," Combs said.

Shepherd pointed out that execution methods have changed over the years, even though they weren't found to be unconstitutional for years.

"One hundred years ago, the primary method of execution was hanging," Shepherd said. "I'm not sure you could hang someone today and that would be an acceptable method of execution."

Combs and Barron agree that executions in Ohio are quicker than in Kentucky, where the most recent lethal injection, in 2008, took about 13 minutes.

A review by The Associated Press of timelines prepared by the state of Ohio for four single-drug executions shows the one-drug protocol took an average of between eight and nine minutes.

If a hearing is ordered, Shepherd said, the two sides may also be ordered to try and settle parts of the litigation.

"That would be in the public interest," Shepherd said.


Judge to hear argument over Ky. execution protocol

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A Kentucky judge is set to hear arguments over whether to stop executions in the state, including one scheduled for next week.

The hearing, set for 10 a.m. before Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd, will focus on whether an injunction handed down in November by the Kentucky Supreme Court halting all executions in the state is still in effect.

The high court ruled that Kentucky failed to properly adopt a three-drug lethal injection protocol. The Kentucky Department of Corrections reimplemented the protocol in May. Gov. Steve Beshear set a Sept. 16 execution date for Gregory L. Wilson, condemned to death for a 1987 kidnapping, rape and murder.

An attorney for multiple death row inmates says because no court has dissolved the injunction, it remains in effect and executions are prohibited.

Attorneys for the state say the readoption of the protocol in May ended the injunction because the state complied with the court's order.


Debate over death penalty heats up in Kentucky courtroom

It's not the punishment, but how it's carried out, that's brought a debate over the death penalty in Kentucky.

Attorneys on both sides argued before a judge Wednesday morning.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd heard arguments from state attorneys representing the Department of Corrections, and an attorney who has represented death row inmates.

They're mainly arguing just how the death penalty should be implemented, specifically after the Kentucky Supreme Court's injunction from last November, which halted all executions in the state.

The injunction handed down by the state's high court ruled Kentucky failed to properly adopt a three-drug lethal injection protocol.

The Kentucky Department of Corrections then re-implemented the protocol in May.

State attorneys say the department followed court orders and the suspension should ultimately be over.

However, David Barron, a defense attorney for several Kentucky death row inmates, argues executions should still be prohibited because no court dissolved the injunction.

The attorney also wants Judge Shepherd to consider if the current three-drug protocol for lethal injection is unconstitutionally cruel, and instead consider a one-drug protocol.

State attorneys say the statue is clear.

Ohio and Washington are the only two states currently using a single drug lethal injection.

Administrative regulations regarding mental competence, such as insanity and mental retardation of condemned inmates, were also argued.

Judge Shepherd's ruling, depending on when it happens, will determine if an execution scheduled for next week will take place.

Gregory Wilson is scheduled to be executed next Thursday for a 1987 kidnapping, rape, and murder.


It's not the punishment, but how it's carried out, that's brought a debate over the death penalty in Kentucky.

If that's the case then here's a solution - tell the inmate they're going to die on whatever date and let them choose whatever way to die they please  ??? Problem solved, no need for appeals.  Yeah right, bet your  :-\ it's the punishment they have a problem with!

And as for the defence pushing so hard for the one drug protocol right at this point in time, methinks that's probably got a lot to do with the shortage of thio - unless of course the judge turns around and says 'ok, no problem, but considering the shortage of thio you have to accept the state will use another appropriate chemical' - the legislation provides for that already 'in theory' doesn't it?


"It's not the punishment, but how it's carried out, that's brought a debate over the death penalty in Kentucky."

As Wilson was sentenced to the electric chair in the first place and we still have an electrocution protocol in force in this state he should be given a simple clear option - take the injection offered or get the chair.  When is my state going to call the bluff of these POS's?

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