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New Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council should review facts about Kentucky’s Death Penalty

Governor Matt Bevin recently announced the formation of a Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council and KCADP finds this exciting. Writing in the Courier-Journal, he said:

This 23-member panel of dedicated people from across the Commonwealth will review existing research and data-driven evidence to build a smarter, stronger and better system of justice.

KCADP hopes this body is wise enough to listen to the facts about Kentucky’s broken death penalty system. At the end of 2011 a distinguished group of Kentucky legal experts issued a document reporting on their findings after studying Kentucky’s death sentencing system over the previous two years. Called EVALUATING FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY IN STATE DEATH PENALTY SYSTEMS: The Kentucky Death Penalty Assessment Report An Analysis of Kentucky’s Death Penalty Laws, Procedures, and Practices, the report made 92 recommendations that needed to be undertaken by the executive, judicial and legislative branches of Kentucky’s government in order to protect innocent defendants and insure the fair imposition of the death penalty. To date, no significant attention has been paid to these recommendations by the three branches of government.

The new Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council should include an examination of the use of the death penalty in Kentucky if it wants a system of justice whose credibility is not undermined by all those problems identified by the Kentucky Death Penalty Assessment Report. Growing bi-partisan support for abolishing the death penalty is already a fact here. Kentuckians deserve a justice system that is not wasting limited tax dollars on a broken system that is no longer needed and, in addition, risks executing the innocent. To suggest that could never happen here is to forget that it has already happened here in the case of Larry Osborne.

Photo: courtesy Kentucky Governor website

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