Today's Evansville Courier & Press publishes the AP report, "Kentucky's execution method still debated," filed by Brett Barrouquere. Here's an extended excerpt:
Two of the three inmates executed in Kentucky since 1976 didn't contest their fates and went willingly to their deaths. One attorney worries that, under the state's new proposed lethal injection rules, the inmate's attorney won't be notified in time to stop the process if a future volunteer has a change of heart.
Tom Griffiths, a Lexington attorney, was one of 11 people to address a public hearing Tuesday in Frankfort about Kentucky's proposed execution method. A death row inmate could change his mind in the days or hours leading to an execution but still be put to death if not given the chance to speak to an attorney, Griffiths said.
"It doesn't allow for any input at all," Griffiths said.
The hearing was part of the legal process that could allow the state to resume executing inmates by the spring. The Kentucky Justice Cabinet must submit the proposed regulations to the Legislative Research Council by Oct. 15. The regulations then go to legislative committees for consideration. If there are no delays, state officials expect to appear before Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd in February or March to ask him to lift an order barring inmates from being put to death. That order cited problems the judge found with the state's three-drug lethal injection method.
Kentucky is trying to switch to a method similar to the one used by other states, with either a single dose of the anesthetic sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, a short-acting barbiturate. The state may use two drugs — the anti-seizure medication midazolam, better known as Versed, and hydromorphone, an analgesic known commonly as Dilaudid — if the chemicals used in a single-drug execution are not available seven days in advance.
The state estimates the cost of a single execution under the new process at $81,438. Under the three-drug method, the estimated cost to all the agencies involved was $63,516. The increase appears attributable to rising costs for the services provided by multiple agencies.
Death penalty opponents offered multiple critiques of the proposed method, ranging from access to attorneys to the two-minute time limit a condemned inmate is given to make a final statement.
WTVQ-TV reports, "Kentucky Continues Toward Resuming Lethal Injections," by Amanda Stevenson.
A hearing in Frankfort called for a change in execution protocol Tuesday morning.
Inmates on death row in Kentucky have not been eligible for execution since 2010.
That was when Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled that lethal injection procedures needed to be reexamined.
Kentucky is switching to a one- or two-drug lethal injection after a three-drug cocktail ran into legal and supply problems earlier this year.
But critics say the new system could be just as problematic.
The proposed regulations must be submitted to the legislative research council by October 15th.
And, if there are no delays, state officials say the order against lethal injections could be lifted by March of next year.
Earlier coverage of the proposed Kentucky lethal injection changes begins at the link.