Kentucky Court Orders State to Hold Public Hearings on Lethal Injection Process

In a ruling that may put all executions on hold in the state of Kentucky, a Franklin County Circuit Judge held that the state must hold public hearings because it changed the way the state plans to carry out executions.  A group of death row inmates had challenged the state's lethal injection protocol in 2004, and subsequently the state altered the mixture of drugs used and the way they would be administered without going through the necessary administrative process for such a change.  Recently, the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.  Kentucky has 40 inmates on death row, but only two inmates have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976; only one was executed by lethal injection.

(Associated Press, Nov. 29, 2006).  UPDATE: On Dec. 27, 2006, the Franklin County judge reversed himself and held that the lethal injection procedures are not subject to public review under the state's Administrative Procedures Act.  (Bowling, et al. v. KY Dept. of Corr., No. 06-CI-00574, Dec. 27, 2006).  See Lethal Injection for developments on this issue in other states.