Kentucky Judge Says State's Under 21 Death Penalty is Unconstitutional

Aug 4, 2017

Credit belchonock, 123rf Stock Photo

A Kentucky judge says the state's death penalty law is unconstitutional for defendants who were under the age of 21 when they allegedly committed their crimes. 

Fayette County Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone's ruling came in the case of a man who was 18 years old when he was charged in the slaying of a gas station attendant. In his ruling this week, Scorsone said that applying the death penalty would be an "unconstitutionally disproportionate punishment" for crimes committed by people under 21. 

Prosecutors in Fayette County say they will appeal Scorsone's ruling. Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn says the ruling is contrary to state and federal laws. Red Corn says the ruling will affect two other cases eligible for the death penalty that are pending before Scorsone.