4:23 pm
Mon November 23, 2009

Defenders Call for Execution Moratorium

Frankfort, KY – Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says it's time for Governor Steve Beshear to set execution dates for three state death row inmates. But another group is calling for a stay of all state executions.

The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy is asking the governor to not sign any execution warrants until the American Bar Association finishes a review of the fairness, accuracy and reliability of Kentucky's system for imposing and administering the death penalty. The Public Defender's Office is also asking Attorney General Jack Conway to rescind the three execution warrant requests he issued today.

State Public Advocate Ed Monahan says since 1976, 50 capital cases have undergone exhausted review by the Kentucky Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal. Forty-two have been reversed. Monahan says the error rate over the past 33 years is unacceptably high and shows the system needs revision. He says many death row inmates have mental illness, had ineffectual lawyers, or had trials with serious errors that weren't corrected. All death row inmates are housed at the State Penitentiary in Eddyville.