"Judge calls for trial in Ky. lethal injection case," is by Brett Barrouquere of Associated Press. It's via the San Francisco Chronicle.
A judge in Kentucky on Friday called for a trial to resolve disputed aspects of how the state handles an inmate in the days leading up to an execution.
Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued a three-page order setting a pre-trial conference for Sept. 22, at which time he plans to set a date for a full trial over how the state proposes to carry out a lethal injection.
Any trial would not focus on the state's plans to use one or two drugs to carry out a death warrant. Shepherd previously ruled that Kentucky's plans on that front appeared to pass constitutional muster and Friday's order made no mention of the issue. Instead, the judge took issue with how the state assesses condemned inmates' mental abilities in the weeks leading up to an execution.
In December, Shepherd raised concerns about how the state would determine if an inmate is mentally disabled, if the public and defense attorneys see enough of the execution preparation before the lethal injection begins and if the inmate has access to counsel in the hours leading up to an execution.
Kentucky is barred from executing any inmates under an injunction issued by Shepherd in 2010. In December, the judge opted to keep that injunction in place. Multiple death row inmates challenged Kentucky's use of three drugs to carry out a lethal injection. As a result, the state has switched to using one or two drugs.