Kentucky Death Penalty Essay

Submitted By jackieshelley14
Words: 895
Pages: 4

The Kentucky Death Penalty

The Kentucky Death Penalty is a subject that I knew very little about before conducting research for this paper. Honestly, I didn’t even know if the death penalty was still in force in Kentucky. It’s not that I didn’t care; it’s just one of those things that I didn’t have any direct association with and never heard much about, so I didn’t really think about it. Before researching, I sat down and thought about how I really felt about the death penalty and was I for it or against it. I had several mixed emotions that ranged from yes, I feel that Kentucky should keep the death penalty to, no I don’t think any man should have the right to decide if another man should live or die. There are all types of arguments for and against the death penalty, from morality to monetary. Some groups think it is immoral while others think it’s less expensive to house the prisoners instead of euthanizing them. Without knowing all the procedures of evidence handling, psyche evaluations and things such as that, it would be hard for me to say that the death penalty is unjust or unfair. I can only give my opinion based what I have read and my limited knowledge of the subject. One of the more interesting and informative websites that I found was the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) website. It contained “The Innocence List” which lists everyone in the U.S. with release dates staring in 1973, that was sentenced to the death penalty but had their verdicts overturned by acquittal, all charges being dropped or were given an absolute pardon by the governor based on new evidence of innocence. The list contains 139 names with the latest case being added on Dec. 1, 2011. Although there is only one name listed from Kentucky, this gives us an overall idea of how many innocent people could have been executed. This in no means is representative of all the innocent people on death row, there could potentially be hundreds more that have no way of proving their innocence. (This website has strict criteria that it adheres to and only lists individuals that have been exonerated.) The DPIC website also lists statistics on clemency. According to the information given, 269 inmates since 1976 have been granted clemency; of these, 2 were from Kentucky. In one of the cases, Governor Paul Patton, declaring that the justice system "perpetuated an injustice," based his decision upon the inmate’s age (17) at the time of the crime. The pardon, which reduced the inmate’s sentence to Life Without Parole, was made official by Governor Patton on December 8, 2003. The other was granted by Gov. Ernie Fletcher who commuted an inmate’s death sentence to a life sentence without parole in December 2007. Fletcher said the inmate was not provided adequate representation by his attorney, Fred Radolovich, who later admitted he didn't even know the inmate’s name during the trial. According to an article published in the Courier Journal Nov. 7, 2009, Since the death penalty was reinstated nationwide in 1976, Kentucky's trial courts had sentenced 92 defendants to death. Only three had been executed, compared to the five inmates who had died while their cases were being appealed. One-third of the state’s 36 death-row inmates had been there at least two decades and 30 inmates whom Kentucky circuit judges sent to death row over the past 33 years had seen their sentences reduced as the result of appeals. All of these things together tell me that something is wrong with Kentucky’s and much other