Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)


December 11, 2013

Should judge recuse in death penalty issue?

Dec. 11, 2013 — We have praised Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd in the past for what we believe most Kentuckians would agree have been sensible legal opinions in important cases like redistricting.

A circuit judge in the home of the state capitol has frequent opportunities to impact the entire state through rulings on state laws and regulations.

Anyone who wants to sue the Commonwealth of Kentucky must do so in Franklin County.

Judge Shepherd is an able jurist and we mean no disrespect to him but we believe he should consider recusing himself from further rulings on the constitutionality of the state’s death penalty statute.

It was Judge Shepherd who stopped the use of lethal injections in 2010 in response to a lawsuit brought by death row inmates over Kentucky's execution procedures.

The Kentucky Department of Corrections rewrote its protocols for administering the drugs supposed to bring sudden, painless death to the condemned.

The state also developed other sources of the required lethal chemicals in case of shortages at the wrong time.

Kentucky switched from the electric chair to lethal injections because it is a more humane way to kill someone.

If you think that is barbaric, keep in mind that until 1911 we used to hang our murderers in front of cheering, jeering crowds.

Kentucky’s electric chair, called “Old Sparky”, remains on standby at the state prison at Eddyville.

If you killed someone before March 31, 1998, you still have the right to choose to die in the chair or by lethal injection.

Judge Shepherd refused last week to lift his injunction prohibiting executions. But he did say the state now has the right protocols in place for lethal injections.

However, he ruled those death row convicts can have more time to amend their 2006 lawsuit to raise new questions about access to an attorney, public viewing of executions and execution of the mentally ill.

Text Only
  • Juvenile justice bill finally wins passage

    We complained in this space last month that the General Assembly, specifically the Senate, was headed down the wrong path in its handling of Senate Bill 200, a carefully-crafted, broadly supported effort to modernize Kentucky’s juvenile justice laws.

    April 16, 2014

  • Numbers say stop fussin’ and start fixin’!

    We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again. It is long past time for Republicans like U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell to stop complaining about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and start working with the other party to fix the pieces of the massive law that need fixing.

    April 9, 2014

  • Benching Rupp Arena project a mistake

    Folks who believe that college basketball is more important than anything else in Kentucky apparently don’t serve in the State Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Snow days decision can wait no longer

    We had hoped this editorial would not have been necessary by the time you read it in today’s issue of the Journal-Times.

    March 26, 2014

  • Are some legislators smarter than experts?

    Ready - shoot - aim. No good deed goes unpunished. There’s the right way, the wrong way and the Frankfort way. We could go on with pithy sayings about the strange happenings at the State Capitol when the Kentucky General Assembly is in session.

    March 19, 2014

  • Shouldn’t majority rule mean smoke-free?

    Recent statewide polls show as many as 65 percent of Kentucky voters say they are in favor of outlawing smoking in workplaces and public facilities, including restaurants and bars.

    March 12, 2014

  • Legalized marijuana, hemp must be explored

    Whether you call it marijuana or cannabis or whether you believe someone can get high on industrial hemp, Kentucky is making history with both plants.

    March 5, 2014

  • We must protect against dating violence

    We were encouraged when the leadership of the Kentucky House of Representatives came forward last month with House Bill 8 to amend the domestic violence protection laws to shield unmarried individuals in dating relationships.

    February 26, 2014

  • Did Bluegrass Poll predict our future?

    Life may have become much simpler for Kentucky voters recently when the Bluegrass Poll released its most recent survey.

    February 19, 2014

  • Senate race poll attracts national spotlight

    “Mitch has met his match” shouted the headline on the Huffington Post, a trendy, online news aggregator and blog founded by socialite Arianna Huffington.

    February 12, 2014