Editorials

Other voices: End Ky.'s death penalty

Just when we thought we heard it all, a Franklin circuit judge decided last week that Kentucky's three-drug concoction to execute its prisoners may no longer be necessary. In his decision, Judge Phillip Shepherd said there is a single drug available that other states have successfully used for lethal injections.

Is this what it has come to? Arguing over how many drugs it takes to kill a person? To be fair, Shepherd was only doing his job after death-row inmates brought the case to court. He ruled the single-drug switch be made within 90 days, or the case will go to trial.

Instead of debating the number of drugs used in a lethal injection, why not concentrate on moving away from executions altogether?

In 2009, the state was spending $8 million more a year on its 34 death-row inmates than those with life sentences, according to the Department of Public Advocacy. That's not counting medical costs that go along with housing prisoners for 15 to 20 years. Adding more weight is the recent two-year study from the American Bar Association that found "substantial" flaws in how death penalty cases are tried and appealed in this state.

But capital punishment is still defended. It's always about being soft on crime or the tiresome deterrent argument — as though a person checks to see if the state he or she is in allows the death penalty before deciding to commit murder or not.

Why can't it be about a life sentence? Justice will be still be served, and we could then be assured that a wrongly convicted person wouldn't be sent to their death simply because the state insists on picking its own poison — and in Kentucky's case, we mean that literally.

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