In the wake of last week’s American Bar Association’s damning assessment of Kentucky’s death penalty, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the state’s largest newspaper, declared the state should halt executions. It also joined LEO Weekly in criticizing Attorney General Jack Conway for disregarding the findings of the comprehensive two-year review.
From The Louisville Courier-Journal‘s “Halt Executions“:
The findings of a blue-ribbon panel that studied the death penalty in Kentucky are disturbing but welcome. Short of abolishing capital punishment, which would be the best course for the commonwealth, a moratorium on executions would be a welcome alternative.The team of law professors, retired judges and attorneys who studied capital punishment laws and procedures for the past two years found that they do not “sufficiently protect the innocent, convict the guilty and ensure the fair and efficient enforcement of criminal law.”
Nobody should be surprised about this…
The commission made recommendations that would protect the rights of the accused, prevent evidence from being destroyed and ensure the independence of those who study that evidence. The panel also called for adopting model codes in important areas and suggested statewide standards for capital defense lawyers and guidelines about prosecutors’ discretion in seeking the death penalty.
While people of good conscience have great sympathy for the feelings of the victims’ families, as well as respect for trial verdicts and the judicial review process, Attorney General Jack Conway is misguided in disputing the findings of the commission.
Other leaders in the legal profession and government, including the Governor and the chief justice, should disregard Mr. Conway’s misgivings and impose a moratorium.
Illustrator Marc Murphy’s editorial cartoon drove the point home even further: Kentucky’s death penalty is too broken to fix. It needs to be abolished.
Photo: Courtesy Louisville Courier-Journal