Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Play

Access to medication is key to HIV prevention, a Florida university uses a religious exemption to disband its faculty union, plus Nevada tribes and conservation leaders praise a new national monument plan.

Play

The House passed a bill to avert a crippling railroad strike, Hakeem Jefferies is chosen to lead House Democrats, and President Biden promises more federal-Native American engagement at the Tribal Nations Summit.

Play

The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Public Opinion and Legal Experts' Review of Death Penalty Signal End?

Play

Monday, December 12, 2011   

FRANKFORT, Ky. - "Broken beyond repair" is how death penalty abolitionists describe Kentucky's system of capital punishment. They believe results of a two-year review of the death penalty by legal scholars, attorneys and former Kentucky Supreme Court justices signal it is time for an outright ban of state executions.

A recent report by the American Bar Association (ABA) Kentucky Assessment Team on the Death Penalty concluded that the Commonwealth should temporarily suspend executions until problems with fairness and accuracy are corrected.

Donald Vish, director of education and advocacy with the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, says the report's conclusions were of no surprise, and prove the system is incapable of delivering justice.

"While we agree with the call for a moratorium, I think one group hopes to be able to fix the problems during the moratorium, while we hope that the General Assembly will determine that it should be abolished altogether."

A recent survey commissioned by the ABA found that 62 percent of Kentucky voters support suspension of executions in Kentucky. The 500-page review found no uniform standards on eyewitness identifications and police interrogations, and a high error rate in death sentences, with more than 60 percent overturned on appeal.

Kate Miller, a program associate with the ACLU of Kentucky, says the frequency of inadequate counsel in handling capital cases is also evidenced in the report.

"Of the 78 people who have wound up with death sentences, 10 of those individuals were represented by attorneys who were later disbarred, and we know the public defenders are overworked and underpaid."

The study also found that Kentucky lacks safeguards to ensure that defendants with mental disabilities are not put to death.

Vish points out that jury sentencing patterns over the last several years show Kentuckians' discomfort with exacting capital punishment.

"What do ordinary Kentucky citizens do? They're impaneled on a jury; they determine that the defendant is guilty. They do not impose the death penalty. That seems to be the ultimate public opinion poll."

Kate Miller says the legal teams' recommendations for addressing the system are too complex and expensive, and that leaves room for only one solution.

"The death penalty system has failed as public policy. Especially since a majority of Kentuckians don't want the death penalty anymore, it's time we just take it off the table permanently."

Legislation to ban executions of people with severe mental illnesses and to abolish the death penalty altogether are expected to come before the Kentucky General Assembly when it convenes next month.

The report is available at http://ambar.org/kentucky.




get more stories like this via email

An estimated 64,875 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2020, according to the National Fire Protection Association. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

Nebraska has had a number of deadly and destructive fires this year, and nearly half the state remains in extreme or exceptional drought. If it is as …


Social Issues

Illinois voters approved a "Workers' Rights Amendment" to the state constitution which broadens the state workforce's rights to collective bargaining…

Health and Wellness

The legal fight over North Dakota's abortion ban continues, and oral arguments about one element of the case were heard by the state Supreme Court …


Child poverty dropped to 5.2% during the pandemic because of the expanded Child Tax Credit and other relief efforts. (ktay21/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CORRECTION: Monthly amounts of the expanded Child Tax Credits were $250 (ages 0 to 5) to $300 (ages 6 to 17). An earlier version of this story had …

Environment

Wildlife biologists are warning Iowa hunters to have their deer tested for a deadly condition known to attack the animal's brain. Chronic Wasting …

Same-sex marriage became legal in Nevada in October 2014. (Ronstik/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Nevada marriage-equality groups say the U.S. Senate's passage of the Respect for Marriage Act is a huge step forward for people who identify as LGBTQ+…

Social Issues

After the calendar flips to December, South Dakota will see the return of colder temperatures during a period of higher natural-gas costs. Fire …

Environment

By Phil Roberts for Next City.Broadcast version by Edwin J. Viera for New York News Connection reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-Public …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021