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Diverse group speaks at hearing on execution regulations

A murder victim family member, a PhD professor of accounting, lawyers, and ordinary citizens spoke at the public hearing today to challenge aspects of the proposed regulations the Commonwealth is considering for executions.

Ray Schweri

Murder Victim Family Member – Ray Schweri

Ray Schweri, whose brother-in-law was murdered, is a chemist who questioned the incompleteness of the protocols and lack of specificity about training, the equipment to be used, and whether or not the chemicals named are actually available.

Professor Steven Olshewsky said that the accounting for costs presented in the proposal does not add up. He called for a cost comparison between the current regulations and the proposed regulations and a second comparison between the estimated costs in the proposal to execute and the cost if only life without parole was an option.

Kate Miller, staff with the ACLU of Kentucky, raised First Amendment issues regarding the access the press has under the proposal and asked that there be amendments that allow complete access by the press from start to finish of executions so that the public knows what is being done on its behalf.

Kate Miller, ACLU

Two lawyers from the Department of Public Advocacy, Tim Arnold and David Barron, also raised important issues related to an inmate’s access to attorneys. Arnold especially emphasized access when near the end court actions are taking place very quickly and time is of the essence. Barron raised a host of questions regarding the number of drugs to be used and claims that ultimately the protocol, rather than adhering to the court’s order to permit a choice of one drug or several drugs, ends up allowing only for the use of more than one drug. And the drugs named have not yet been used in any execution and that, too, raises serious questions about how the state executes.

Katherine Nichols, with Kentucky Voices for Crime Victims, spoke last and said this was National Homicide Day and she described several brutal killings by inmates currently on death row. She had no suggested changes to the protocols. The day she refers to is the National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims.

KCADP posted about the regulations earlier. Click here for links to their text.

Photos: Pat Delahanty

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