Ky. won't appeal ruling that delays executions

AP News
Posted: Dec 04, 2009 8:20 PM

Kentucky executions are on hold after the state said Friday it won't appeal a ruling that found it failed to follow proper administrative procedures when it adopted its lethal injection method.

The state must hold public hearings on the injection method before it can resume executions.

The Kentucky Supreme Court's 4-3 ruling last month didn't challenge the technique that has been upheld in the nation's highest court and is used by dozens of other states. Instead, it said the state didn't use the proper process for putting it into place.

The court said the state must hold the hearings and take public input on the injection technique.

Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet spokeswoman Jennifer Brislin told The Associated Press on Friday that the state will file paperwork later this month to start the public hearing process.

Brislin said the state would have faced a lengthy appeals process in court if it had tried to fight the court ruling. Brislin was unsure how long readopting the protocol might take.

Three death row inmates had challenged how the lethal injection protocol was adopted.

The court's decision came just days after state Attorney General Jack Conway requested execution dates for three inmates, including 54-year-old Ralph Baze, who was a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

David Barron, the public defender who represented the inmates, said the decision not to appeal now gives the public an opportunity to comment on how the state carries out the most severe punishment.

Kentucky has 35 death-row inmates. The state has executed three men since reinstating the death penalty in 1976.