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Resources to use with lawmakers during the 2015 General Assembly session

End Kentucky's death penalty

Please use #KYRepeal and #KYGA15 when posting on Facebook or other social media.

The documents listed above are resources to help Kentuckians who oppose the death penalty have meaningful discussions with their legislators. You may download and email these files or print them out and give them directly to your State Senator and State Representative.

scales_justiceContacting them can be as simple as making a phone call to the toll free phone number 1.800.372.7181 or sending an email sent through our legislative alert system. Most effective, however, is a face-to-face visit with them. KCADP staff and key volunteers are ready to work with you and make it happen. It is important lawmakers hear from you and know that repealing the death penalty in Kentucky is something you really want them to do.

So, first and very important: this is a bi-partisan effort. Democrats, Republicans and others support abolition and have filed bills. We must approach members of all parties asking for their help and not engage in partisan politics. We are urging a new public policy in Kentucky and that is important to all regardless of party affiliation.

Below is a description of the documents listed at the top of the page. Why you personally oppose the death penalty is important. But often legislators – busy with many issues – need education about the issue. This is why we are making resources available that address various aspects of the death sentencing process in Kentucky.

It is very important the legislators understand you are not suggesting violent murderers should not be accountable. They may ask what you propose to do with them. The bills that have been introduced repeal the death penalty, but keep in place life without parole as the maximum penalty. Here is a set of talking points about life without parole: Talking Points for Life Without Parole Instead of the Death Penalty.

mvfrLawmakers often ask about victim family members and suggest that we must kill the killer to help them, to bring them healing. Victim family members sit on our board, many have recorded videos calling for abolition. This document from Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation explains how the death penalty actually causes them more harm: How the Death Penalty Causes Additional Harm To Victims’ Families.

Everyone should be concerned that the use of the death penalty creates the possibility of executing an innocent man or woman. Kentucky had to release one man from death row who was not guilty and a dozen or so others who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. Juries, police, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and others make mistakes. Provide this document to legislators so they can see that Kentucky doesn’t always get it right: Kentucky Makes Mistakes: Larry Osborne Freed From Death Row.

Kentucky’s Death Sentencing Process is Capricious and Arbitrary. This document lists cases for which the defendant was eligible for the death penalty, but received a lesser sentence. It is important because it shows how arbitrary our system is. A fair and just system implies that those who commit similar crimes are similarly punished. There are many on Kentucky’s death row whose crime was not nearly as heinous as those on this list who did not get sentenced to death. The Kentucky Supreme Court is required by law to compare all these cases to one another, but does not do so. One reason: proper records are not kept. Educate your legislators about this failure in the system.

Other voices are important to lawmakers so we have included three documents you should give them:

  1. Why Conservatives Oppose the Death Penalty; Support Life Without Parole outlines why more and more conservatives are urging abolition of the death penalty;
  2. He ‘murdered’ 5 men in Georgia; Dean Allen Ault Writes About Why He Opposes the Death Penalty describes Dean Ault’s experience that has led him to call for abolition of the death penalty; and
  3. Judge, Prosecutors Argue Life Without Parole Effective, Less Costly; Repeal Death Penalty is an article written by those who worked in the system and came to know its flaws.

If you are posting on Facebook, Tweeting, and using other social media, please use the hashtags – #KYRepeal and #KYGA15 – to draw attention to the fact that we are working together to end the death penalty. These resources should also be shared with friends, family members, co-workers and others to raise awareness in Kentucky of the need to repeal the death penalty and, instead, use severe prison sentences to punish killers, protect society and preclude executing innocent persons.

Graphics: Murder Victim Families For Reconciliation; and


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