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July 26, 2010

Despite Baze ruling, defense lawyers in Kentucky still pushing for one-drug execution protocol

This new local article from Kentucky provides proof that even a Supreme Court smack-down does not seriously deter the efforts of capital defense attorneys to block execution.  The piece is headlined "Attorney seeks to force change in execution method: Three-drug protocol 'unconstitutionally cruel'," and here are the basics:

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

Defense attorney 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.

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 one-drug execution protocol in place....

Kentucky has argued against a one-drug protocol, saying it was unproven and could take longer to induce death. Since then, Ohio has executed seven inmates using a one-drug protocol — accounting for 21 percent of the 35 executions carried out nationally since December.

Barron said those single-drug executions should be considered before decisions are made about Kentucky's protocol. "That evidence did not exists before now," Barron said. "Now we know both the presumptions they made are not true."...

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is weighing whether to set an execution date for one of the inmates bringing the suit, Ralph Baze, who was convicted of the 1992 shooting deaths of Powell County Sheriff Steve Bennett and deputy Arthur Briscoe.  Beshear is also considering requests to set execution dates for two other inmates.

The challenge stems from a suit brought by Baze and another death row inmate, who say the state violated multiple rules in adopting the current three-drug protocol, which went into effect in May.

The inmates claim the state failed to spell out how the chemicals would be injected, authorized unqualified people to insert intravenous lines and that death row inmates weren't allowed to address a public hearing about the three-drug protocol.

July 26, 2010 at 04:20 PM | Permalink


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Clearest proof possible that the 7-month Baze moratorium accomplished nothing. Perhaps we should drop the idea of suspending executions while the inmates raise these claims, as they will never stop.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Jul 27, 2010 2:01:58 AM

Is Ralph Baze still alive, I used to write regularly but he stopped replying. Sent a christmas card and it has been returned thanks if you can helph

Posted by: margarethorricks | Jan 17, 2013 7:37:25 AM

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