Kentucky Death Penalty News

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

previous topic - next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Go Down


Ky.'s supply of lethal injections set to expire

All Ky. executions could be delayed

EDDYVILLE, Ky. - Once Gregory Lee Wilson's death warrant expires at midnight, it may be next year before he would be executed if the Kentucky Supreme Court lifts the current stay on his execution.

There is a national shortage of drugs used in the lethal injection for executions, said Kerri Richardson, spokeswoman for the governor's office.

This shortage was only suppose to delay two death penalty cases, Ralph Baze and Robert Foley, however, it may now delay a third because Kentucky only has one dose left of sodium thiopental--one of the three drugs used in the lethal injection protocol--which is set to expire next month.

In August, Gov. Steve Beshear signed a death warrant for Wilson, 53, who was convicted in Kenton County for the May 1987 kidnapping, rape, robbery and murder of Deborah Pooley.

Wilson had the longest-standing conviction of the three that were submitted by the Attorney General. The warrant set his execution for Sept. 16.

"I believe that capital punishment is appropriate in the case of particularly heinous crimes, absent some strong extenuating circumstances. I have reviewed the facts of this case in detail, and I do not find any such strong extenuating circumstances in this case," said Beshear in a press release last month.

"Signing a death warrant is a solemn responsibility, and I have given this case serious and thoughtful consideration. It is my duty to carry out the court-imposed punishment."

But on Sept. 10, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd put a stay on Wilson's execution.

Shepherd ruled that "the state's protocol for carrying out an execution is inconsistent with state law and doesn't provide a safeguard to prevent a mentally retarded or criminally insane inmate from being executed."

Attorney General Jack Conway appealed that ruling on Sept. 13 and the decision moved to the seven justices of the Kentucky Supreme Court. That is where it stands today.

If the court were to lift the stay, the governor's new death warrant would have to be signed and scheduled prior to Oct. 1 when the sodium thiopental expires.

In March, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet placed an order for additional supplies of sodium thiopental. The Cabinet's repeated attempts to obtain additional thiopental have so far been unsuccessful.

At least 33 other states use sodium thiopental in the lethal injection protocol. The drug has been unavailable for several months. Other states, such as Ohio and Oklahoma, have experienced similar delays in delivery.

Just one manufacturer in the U.S., Hospira, distributes sodium thiopental, a drug used as an anesthetic and for use in executions. Hospira officials have explained that production has been halted because of an inability to obtain the drug's active ingredient. The manufacturer expects to deliver the sodium thiopental sometime between January and March 2011.

The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet will continue efforts to acquire additional necessary supplies of sodium thiopental from the manufacturer or from other states.


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.

If switching to a single drug execution will alay the good judges  sensibilities, then, by all friggins means, do so. and get the hell on with it .....jeeeeeezzzzzuss what a cluster fox >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(
People that think they know it all, annoy the hell out us who actually do ...


A ban on executions in Kentucky may stay in place while a judge decides whether the state's lethal injection protocol is adequate, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The court, voting 5-2, left in place a lower court's order temporarily barring executions while Gregory L. Wilson, 54, and other Death Row inmates challenge the state's execution protocol.

The decision means Kentucky won't be able to carry out an execution, despite having recently purchased enough of a key drug for three lethal injections.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued the order in September as the state prepared to execute Wilson for the 1987 kidnapping, rape and murder of Debbie Pooley, 36, in Northern Kentucky. Shepherd found the state lacked "adequate safeguards" to assess an inmate's mental state once an execution date has been set.

The high court said the best option now is to let the case play out before Shepherd.

"We express no opinion on the merits of the Franklin Circuit Court on these issues," the court wrote in an opinion signed by Chief Justice John D. Minton.

Shepherd told attorneys Monday that he's considering a final opinion in the case.

At the time of Shepherd's initial ruling, Gov. Steve Beshear had an execution date set for Wilson and was weighing requests to set dates for Ralph Baze and Robert Foley. The warrant for Wilson expired when he wasn't executed Sept. 16.

Attorney General Jack Conway's office said warrant requests for Baze and Foley are active. Prosecutors had asked the high court to overturn Shepherd's decision.

The high court said because there are no active execution dates, there is no rush to consider Shepherd's decision before his final opinion.

"We certainly recognize that some view any delay in carrying out the death sentences of Wilson and other Death Row inmates as an injury and an injustice to the commonwealth, but we also believe that granting the requested writ would not further commonwealth's officers' efforts to meet obligations to comply with the law in administering the death penalty," the court wrote.

Allison Martin, a spokeswoman for Conway, said they were disappointed.

Public defender David Barron, who represents Baze, said the decision shows Kentucky prematurely set execution dates while there were valid questions about the state's protocol.

"The court found that the public's interest is best served by allowing the lower court to decide if the regulations have been properly adopted," he said.


March 26, 2011, 01:32:13 AM Last Edit: March 26, 2011, 06:46:16 PM by phlebbb
Shepherd found the state lacked "adequate safeguards" to assess an inmate's mental state once an execution date has been set.

What the bloody fuck??????Who gives a good God damn what a inmates "mental state" is ???The reason the "Inmate" is a inmate is because the Inmate killed somebody, and, that the death that got that the Inmate onto DRin the first place was senseless and stupid. Safeguards and fairness are all good ideas but, this is  becoming a massive cluster fox....... >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(
People that think they know it all, annoy the hell out us who actually do ...


Couldn't agree more.
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.


It is an absolute disgrace that an activist judge and an arch activist public defender can completely derail the DP in Kentucky.  Gregory Wilson was able to plan the abduction, rape and murder of Debbie Pooley so he was not obviously retarded at the time of the crime.  His mental state now is totally irrelevant in my view.  There is absolutely no question of guilt in this case either. 
I am amazed that the Kentucky Supreme Court would not overrule Shepherd and make it clear to him and other judges that it is not up to individual judges to determine State policy.


Courier Journal 04/02/11.

Kentucky officials said Friday they have turned over the state's supplies of a key lethal injection drug to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration over concerns about the overseas source of the drugs.

Officials in Tennessee reported doing likewise.

Kentucky officials said they were cooperating in an unspecified federal investigation and willingly turned over the state's entire supply of sodium thiopental -- enough for three executions -- to the DEA.

"There was no court order and no search warrant," said Jennifer Brislin, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Justice Cabinet.

Dorinda Carter, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Correction, said the department turned over its supply.

Several states have scrambled to find a new supplier of the fast-acting sedative since its primary manufacturer in the United States stopped making the drug.

According to records obtained by The Associated Press, Tennessee officials purchased the drug from an overseas supplier last year. Kentucky bought 18 grams of sodium thiopental in February from a Georgia company at a cost of $1,616.83.

In March, the DEA seized Georgia's entire supply, effectively blocking the scheduling of any further executions there. Defense attorneys claim Georgia's supply came from a fly-by-night British supplier.

The DEA did not say why it was seized, except that there were questions about how it was imported.

Brislin declined to comment further about the case Friday, as did DEA special agents Jim Balcom in Louisville and Chuvalo J. Truesdell in Atlanta.

Kentucky public defender David Barron questioned in a letter to the Justice Department where the drug that Kentucky purchased had originated.

Barron, who represents a Kentucky man sentenced to death for killing a sheriff and a deputy, alleged that the thiopental was likely illegally imported.

"I think the DEA recognizes that this was likely illegally obtained," Barron said Friday.

The drug has been in short supply since its primary U.S. manufacturer, Hospira Inc., stopped making it earlier this year.

Some states have considered switching from sodium thiopental to pentobarbital, a sedative that has a range of medical uses and is used to euthanize animals.

Pentobarbital has already been used to execute prisoners in Ohio and Oklahoma.

Brislin said she doesn't know when the sodium thiopental will be returned to Kentucky, so the state will continue to look for other sources of the drug.

Turning the drug over to the DEA will have no immediate effect on executions. Kentucky has none scheduled.

"We remain under a judge's order that stops all executions indefinitely," Brislin said.

Granny B

" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy


Anti's rejoice :/

Who cares how it is obtained? As long as it does it's job and kills off these violent and dangerous predators.
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.


SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY. -- A jury has recommended a death sentence for an inmate who escaped from an Oklahoma prison and then killed a Kentucky man in 1991.

Jurors in Shepherdsville on Friday reached the decision for Michael Dale St. Clair, who had been convicted of murdering Frank Brady, a distillery worker from Bardstown, but won a new sentencing when the Kentucky Supreme Court found errors in his trial.

During the week-long hearing, jurors heard a fellow inmate, who escaped with St. Clair, testify about other slayings that prosecutors say St. Clair committed, but hasn't been charged with.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 16.

The hearing that began Monday came after months of interviews and letters by St. Clair to The Associated Press about wanting an opportunity represent himself at a re-sentencing hearing.

It's the latest attempt by prosecutors to put St. Clair on death row and make the sentence stick. Since first being convicted in Kentucky in 1998, the Kentucky Supreme Court has returned St. Clair for either a new trial or sentencing three times, most recently in April 2010, when it upheld his conviction but overturned the death sentence.

Because only the penalty was in question, jurors were asked to decide only if St. Clair should be sentenced to death or life in prison, not on his guilt. in the crime. St. Clair also faces a retrial in Brady's October 1991 death in neighboring Hardin County, after the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned the conviction there.

Reese was serving life in prison without parole in Oklahoma for killing a woman there, as well as sentences of life without parole for 25 years in Kentucky for the death of Brady, who disappeared from a rest stop on Interstate 65 near Elizabethtown. Brady's remains were later found in Bullitt County near Lebanon Junction.

During his testimony St. Clair's former co-defendant, Dennis Gene Reese, laid out a story of how he and St. Clair escaped from in Oklahoma in September 1991 and went on a crime and killing spree through Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana and Tennessee that ended with Brady's death.

The pair split up after a confrontation with Kentucky State Police, with St. Clair being captured in December 1991 and Reese, the only living witness to the pair's travels, being caught in Las Vegas in January 1992.

Reese's testimony took jurors through the Dallas area to New Orleans and on to Tennessee and Kentucky, where the men met Brady. Reese said the pair kidnapped Brady with the aim of stealing his truck. The men then drove to a rural area near Lebanon Junction where St. Clair told Brady they would free him while they escaped.

"A couple minutes later, I hear two gunshots," Reese said. "He told me he shot him once in the chest and once in the face."

Reese said St. Clair, already sentenced to two life sentences in Oklahoma for murder, showed no remorse after the Oct. 6, 1991, killing.

This is just another instance of why LWOP doesn't work.  People do escape and kill again.  If he had been executed in Oklahoma Frank Brady and possibly others would still be alive.  Sadly the chance of St. Clair being executed here is virtually nil.
The crime took place some 30 miles from where I live.


Wednesday December 7, 2011 6:45 PM

Posted: 11:49 AM Dec 7, 2011

Study questions death penalty in Kentucky

One of the key issues raised in a new study released Wednesday, is questions about how good of a defense some people on death row got in court.

The results of a study, that lasted more than two years, were released Wednesday in Frankfort. The people behind the 450 pages of research say Kentucky has some serious work to do when it comes to how the state handles death penalty cases.

The study was conducted by the American Bar Association and included lawyers, professors and former Kentucky Supreme Court Justices.

It highlights what the group calls some key problems. One of the most notably was a look at the last 78 people sentenced to death in Kentucky. The group says 50 of those inmates had his or her death sentence overturned on appeal.

The groups say one of the problems is public defenders have caseloads that are too big and salaries that are too small. They also say Kentucky doesn't require evidence be kept, meaning post conviction DNA testing can be difficult and in some cases impossible.

Because of the findings the ABA is asking for a temporary suspension of executions in Kentucky. "The focus of the report is to provide an analysis and recommendations for assuring the process is fair and impartial, the overriding concern being that no innocent person is put to death" said ABA President Bill Robinson. The group says a poll it conducted, as part of the study, showed a majority of Kentuckians agree with a temporary suspension.

The report includes recommendations that researchers say could improve the implementation of the death penalty in the state. The report was given to the governor's office and the Attorney General. Late Wednesday morning Governor Beshear responded by saying: "We remain under a stay and cannot implement our execution protocol until further direction from the Court. In the meantime, we will carefully review and study the 400-plus page report provided by the ABA assessment team."







Kentucky lawmakers weigh execution halt, task force

8:37 PM, Jan. 25, 2012  |

Written by Brett Barrouquere

Associated Press

FRANKFORT, KY. -- Executions in Kentucky could be halted for a year or more if lawmakers decide to form a task force to study how the system works and correct problems with how death penalty cases are handled, legislators said Wednesday.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee said the proposal likely will be dealt with during the current legislative session, but the details of who would be on the task force and how long executions would be delayed remain unresolved.

The task force idea, though, drew the backing of both death penalty supporters and opponents who heard testimony that 64 percent of death sentences in Kentucky since 1976 have been overturned.

"This is too ... serious to have this many errors in it," Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, a death penalty supporter and committee member, told The Associated Press. "You don't take people's lives unless you know what you're doing."

The push for a task force came after members of an American Bar Association team presented lawmakers with a summary of a two-year study of Kentucky's capital punishment system. The study found that state or federal courts overturned the sentences or convictions of 50 of the 78 people sent to death row since the penalty was reinstated in Kentucky in 1976.

The ABA committee, which presented its report in December, faulted how the state handles the severely mentally ill, the preservation of evidence and a lack of safeguards against executing the innocent.

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, pitched the idea of a task force during the committee meeting and said lawmakers can tackle one issue this session by passing a bill prohibiting the state from executing anyone found to be severely mentally ill.

"In order to be sure you do it right," Marzian said of executions, "you should look at it from all the angles."

Mike Bowling, a former state representative from Middlesboro who sponsored Kentucky's lethal injection bill in 1998, said ABA team members backed the idea of a task force and a halt to executions while lawmakers study the issue and consider possible corrections. Bowling said any suspension would likely last about a year.

Gov. Steve Beshear didn't respond directly to the possibility of a task force, but noted that the state is still under a judge's order stopping all executions.

"In the meantime, we will continue to carefully review and study the 400-plus page report provided by the ABA assessment team," Beshear said in a statement.

Attorney General Jack Conway said he appreciates lawmakers being willing to form a task force and hoped any such panel would include a commonwealth's attorney. But he disagrees with halting executions, he said.

"Although I welcome continued review of the ABA's findings, I do not believe it merits a suspension of the death penalty, which disregards trial verdicts, years of judicial review and the families of crime victims seeking justice for their loved ones," he said in a statement.

In 2009 Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd stopped all executions in Kentucky, saying the state didn't have an adequate method of ensuring the mental competency of an inmate once an execution date is set. Shepherd's final ruling in the case is pending.

Kentucky has executed three people since 1976, the last in 2008.






Grinning Grim Reaper

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Judge: Kentucky must consider single drug executions

A Kentucky judge says the state must either switch to a single drug to perform executions within 90 days or prepare to go to trial in a lawsuit challenging the state's 3-drug method of carrying out capital punishment.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled Wednesday that the state's 3-drug method may no longer be necessary now that other states have successfully used a single drug to execute condemned inmates.

The ruling comes about 20 months after Shepherd halted all executions in Kentucky. He imposed the ban after inmates challenged the three-drug method.

At least 5 states have switched to a 1-drug execution method. 3 states - Ohio, Washington and Arizona - have conducted single-drug lethal injections. Arizona put an inmate to death Wednesday using only pentobarbital.

Source: Associated Press

So go to one drug Kentucky...what more in the way of a kick in the ass do you need?
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?


.....or the noose!!!

There is never a shortage of rope.


or nitrogen a trend setter Kentucky...... 8) 8) 8) 8)
People that think they know it all, annoy the hell out us who actually do ...

Go Up