Paducah – KCADP is in Paducah preparing to provide testimony on August 1 to a panel of lawmakers who sit on the Senate and House Judiciary committees.
The purpose of the meeting is not to discuss how to fix the death penalty, which the 2011 ABA Kentucky Assessment Team report said was so broken there should be a moratorium until the system could be “repaired.” This time lawmakers will focus on whether or not Kentucky should keep this arbitrary, broken process in place or repeal it, making life without parole the severest punishment for capital murder.
Ironically, the answer to that question is right before their eyes, because 12 years ago on this day, a jury acquitted Larry Osborne, a man who was a juvenile at the time he was sentenced to death by another jury when a judge allowed a prosecutor to read hearsay testimony to them during his first trial.
Some would say the system worked. Be honest. If you were Larry Osborne and you spent several years on death row for a murder you did not commit, would you really believe the system worked? Speaking of the system, Osborne was the 102nd wrongfully convicted defendant released. Since then the number has grown to 144 wrongfully convicted men and one woman released from death row. This is not a system that works.
Nor is Larry Osborne the only wrongfully convicted Kentuckian who served time in prison. So far there are 13 others, none of whom received a death sentence, but all of whom lost their freedom unjustly. The system is not perfect, because human beings are not perfect.
These defendants ended up in prison for various reasons: eyewitness mis-identification, coerced testimony from a witness, false expert testimony, government misconduct, and ineffective assistance from a defense attorney, to name a few. You can see the full list of those exonerated and the reasons why by clicking here.
This information alone should convince reasonable people that government, who some think can’t even fix a pothole, should certainly not be in the expensive business of asking its citizens to try and figure out who lives and dies. Getting that right demands a decision from someone who doesn’t make mistakes. None of us can claim that distinction.
Please share your opinions about repeal with state lawmakers: 1.800.372.7181. Also spread the word on social media using the hashtag: #KYrepeal.
Artwork: Death Penalty Information Center