Kentucky

Kentucky Assessment on the Death Penalty

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Serious problem areas persist in operation of Kentucky's death penalty

A majority of likely voters in Kentucky—regardless of where they live or their political party—support a temporary halt to executions

Source: Lake Research Partners survey of 405 likely November 2012 Kentucky voters, Nov. 30–Dec. 4, 2011, margin of error (±4.9%)

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Kentucky Assessment Team on the Death Penalty

The assessment is conducted by a state-based team responsible for collecting and analyzing various laws, rules, procedures, standards, and guidelines relating to the administration of capital punishment in the Commonwealth. It is the Kentucky Assessment Team’s responsibility to determine whether the Commonwealth is in compliance with the ABA Protocols and make any other additional recommendations it feels are needed to improve the fairness and accuracy of Kentucky’s death penalty system. The Kentucky Assessment Team is comprised of the following individuals:

  • Linda Ewald, Co-Chair, University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, Louisville, KY;
  • Michael J. Z. Mannheimer, Co-Chair, Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Highland Heights, KY;
  • Hon. Michael Bowling, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, Middlesboro, KY;
  • Allison Connelly, University of Kentucky
    College of Law, Lexington, KY;
  • Hon. Martin E. Johnstone, Kentucky Supreme Court (Retired), Prospect, KY;
  • Hon. James Keller, Kentucky Supreme Court (Retired), Lexington, KY;
  • Frank Hampton Moore, Jr., Cole & Moore, P.S.C., Bowling Green, KY; and
  • Marcia Milby Ridings, Hamm, Milby & Ridings, London, KY.

Recent Scholarship on the Death Penalty in Kentucky

  • Marla Sandys, Misunderstanding of Capital Instructions:  Clarification is Possible, (2014).

  • Keil, T.J. & Vito, G.F. (2009). "Lynching and the Death Penalty in Kentucky, 1866 - 1934: Substitution or Supplement?" Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 7(1): 53-68.

  • Vito, G.F., “The Racial Justice Act in Kentucky,” (2009).

  • Vito, G.F., 2006 Statewide Poll Shows Kentuckians Overwhelmingly Reject The Death Penalty, Kentucky Coalition to Abolish The Death Penalty, 5(3).

  • Keil, T.J. & Vito, G.F. (2006). "Capriciousness or Fairness? Race and Prosecutorial Decisions to Seek the Death Penalty in Kentucky." Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice. 4(3): 27-50.

  • Justin R. Arnold, Race And The Death Penalty After McClesky: A Case Study of Kentucky’s Racial Justice Act , 12 Wash. & Lee J. Civil Rts. & Soc. Just. 93 , (2005).

  • Keil, T.J. & Vito, G.F.(2004), Dangerousness and The Death Penalty: An Examination of Juvenile Homicides in Kentucky, The Prison Journal, 84 (4): 436-451.

  • Lindsey Morrill, Informing Capital Juries About Parole: The Effect on Life or Death Decisions, 90 Ky. L. J. 465 (2002).

  • Tad Thomas, Execution Impact Evidence In Kentucky: It is Time To Return The Scales To Balance, 27 N. Ky. L. Rev. 411 (2000).

  • Melissa Bartlett, Harris v. Commonwealth: The Use of “Statutory” Aggravating Circumstances In Kentucky’s Sentencing Procedure, 87 Ky. L.J. 203 (1999).

  • Delbert K. Pruit, Commonwealth v. Eldred: A Second Bite Of The Apple, 26 N. Ky. L. Rev. 133 (1999).

  • Judith E. Lewter, The Use of Forensic DNA In Criminal Cases In Kentucky As Compared With Selected Other States, 86 Ky. L.J. 223 (1997).

  • Karla C. Mcgrath, Sommers v. Commonwealth: An Indigent Criminal Defendant’s Right to Publicly Funded Expert Assistance Other than the Assistance of Counsel, 84 Ky. L.J. 387 (1995).

  • James G. Hodge, Jr., Wanton Murder, Self Defense, and Jury Instructions: Shannon v. Commonwealth is Revisited; But Does It Remain?, 22 N. Ky. L. Rev. 435 (1995).

  • Keil, T.J. & Vito, G.F. (1989)., Race, Homicide Severity, And Application Of The Death Penalty: A Consideration Of The Barnett Scale. 27 Criminology 513.

  • Vito, G.F., Wilson, Deborah G (1988)., Back From The Dead: Tracking The Progress of Kentucky’s Furman- Commuted Death Row Population. Justice Quarterly, 5 (1).

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