Kentucky Senator Submits Bill to Reform Death Penalty

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A Kentucky legislator has filed a bill to make major reforms to the state’s death penalty policy.

Sen. Robin Webb’s proposal for SB 190 comes as a direct result of criticism the state has faced in recent years. In 2011, the American Bar Association (ABA) examined Kentucky’s death penalty and found almost 100 things that need to be changed. Arguably the most alarming statistic from the study cites that 67 percent of Kentucky death penalty assignments from 1967 to 2011 have been overturned. Because there are so many issues with the current law, the association recommended that the death penalty be suspended in the state until improvements are made.

Webb’s bill, if passed, aims to resolve those issues and help ensure that an innocent person does not have to face execution. It would mandate ongoing training for members of law enforcement as well as prosecutors, judges and public defenders, as well as an improved system for DNA testing and storage. It also would prohibit the mentally ill from being executed.

But ultimately, the Senator echoes what the ABA said three years ago: suspend the death penalty until the myriad problems are fixed.