Kentucky Lawmakers to Discuss Death Penalty Friday in Paducah

Jul 30, 2014

Credit California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky’s Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary meets in Paducah Friday for a discussion of the state's death penalty. 

Committee Co-Chair John Tilley of Hopkinsville said the presentation includes three hours of testimony from different perspectives on the changing landscape of death penalty administration. A new Supreme Court decision on judging mental illness in death penalty cases could present a constitutional snag for Kentucky’s death penalty. Tilley said Kentucky currently takes IQ and other contextual factors into account when determining if someone is fit for the death penalty. 

“We’ve got a long way to go before we know what if any action we will be taking," said Tilley. "Some of that action could be by the executive branch, it could be done administratively to change the administration of the death penalty in light of recent developments. But I suspect we may have to clarify our law to come into compliance with the recent decision in the U.S. Supreme Court case Hall v. Florida.”

Tilley said it will be February before the committee begins to consider any bills and there is no guarantee that a bill regarding the death penalty will make it to the floor for a vote. Kentucky currently has a moratorium on the death penalty because of concern for how the process accounts for mental disability.