R.G Dunlop’s article in today’s Louisville Courier-Journal provides yet more evidence about just how broken Kentucky’s death penalty system is:
This is what passed for progress during 2010 in the case of Karu Gene White, who is about to conclude his 31st year on Kentucky’s death row:
First, Special Circuit Judge Gary Payne forgot about the case for the second time in five months, acknowledging to a reporter that he lost track of it, and had failed to rule on a pending issue.
Finally last April, his memory jogged again, Payne made his decision, which reaffirmed a prior one by him authorizing a mental retardation evaluation of White at the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in La Grange.
But that resolved nothing. Attorneys for White and the state Attorney General’s office merely resumed their legal jousting over who should examine White to address his long-pending claim that he is mentally retarded and thus ineligible for execution…
Even after they are decided by the Kentucky Supreme Court, there will be no end in sight to White’s case, because he will then take his retardation claim back to U.S. District Court. The issue has been held in abeyance there since January 2004, while White pursued remedies in the state courts…
So far, White has outlived the attorney who prosecuted him, the judge who presided over his trial and the Supreme Court justice who wrote the opinion upholding his conviction and who referred to the “barbaric … bestial manner in which the victims were murdered.”
Meanwhile, the sole surviving child of two of White’s three victims is in failing health.
Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Department of Corrections