That's the title of an Associated Press report by Brett Barrouquere on Kentucky clemency, via WUKY-FM. It's also available via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It also contains comparative state information. For those watching clemency issues, it's a must-read. Here's the beginning:
The power of kings to spare a condemned person's life lies solely with the governor in Kentucky, which is one of a select few states where the chief executive can spare death row inmates, shorten sentences and forgive crimes without oversight or having to explain his actions.
A review of clemency laws and policies across the country by The Associated Press shows nearly all other states have regulations to follow and oversight - including in some cases having to explain a decision to legislators.
"The trend in states is to spread the power and make it a little more democratic," said P.S. Ruckman, a political science professor at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill., who blogs about clemency. "Kentucky is on the wrong side of that trend."
Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, two condemned inmates in Kentucky have gotten reprieves and right now, the state is barred from executing anyone until a judge decides on the legality of the drugs used. The state has executed three people in that time.
Two death row inmates are challenging that power and the way the clemency system itself is set up.
Robert Foley and Ralph Baze are awaiting execution for multiple killings. They filed suit in May in Franklin Circuit Court, asking a judge to halt executions until a new set of procedures will clearly spell out rules.