2 inmates lose appeal challenging Kentucky clemency system

AP News
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Posted: Jun 11, 2015 1:49 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Two death row inmates in Kentucky have lost their appeal challenging the clemency powers given to the governor.

Robert Foley and Ralph Baze claim the governor's absolute clemency authority violates their due process rights. Kentucky's Supreme Court rejected their argument in a unanimous ruling Thursday.

The two condemned inmates claim many states require clemency hearings. In Kentucky, no recommendations or hearings are needed for the governor to decide whether someone should not be put to death. Foley and Baze argued that could lead to arbitrary life-and-death decisions.

Writing for the court, Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson said the presumption is that the governor would abide by state and federal constitutional requirements when deciding on requests by inmates for a commutation or pardon.

Foley and Baze were convicted in unrelated, multiple killings.