Kentucky Judge Rules Against Lethal Injection Protocol and Halts Execution
On September 10, Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled that Kentucky’s new execution protocol is inconsistent with state law and does not provide safeguards to prevent an inmate who is intellectually disabled or criminally insane from being executed. As a result, Judge Shepherd stayed the September 16 execution of Gregory Wilson, stating, “Because the state's protocol doesn't include a mechanism to determine if someone is mentally retarded and there are serious questions about Wilson's mental state, the execution cannot go forward.” Wilson’s attorney has stated that the only mental test given to him showed an IQ of 62, well below the limit of 70 usually used as an indication of intellectual disability. Judge Shepherd wrote, “The Court finds there is a good faith basis to believe that Wilson may be ineligible for the death penalty,” and noted that "Mr. Wilson appears to be the only inmate on death row in Kentucky who had no lawyer at trial." The judge also questioned why Kentucky's new protocol did not allow for a 1-drug lethal injection process since that is permitted under the state law. The state is appealing the ruling.