04 July 2019 :
Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd declares state's death penalty protocol unconstitutional. A Kentucky judge has struck down the state's death penalty protocol as unconstitutional because it does not explicitly prohibit the execution of prisoners with intellectual disabilities. Ruling on a motion brought by a dozen inmates on death row, Judge Shepherd ruled Tuesday that the regulation is invalid because it doesn't automatically suspend an execution when the state corrections department’s internal review shows a condemned person has an intellectual disability. Granting a motion filed by the Department of Public Advocacy, Shepherd said the state's rules are flawed because they would allow a prisoner with intellectual disabilities to be executed if he or she declines further appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court “categorically prohibits the execution of intellectually disabled persons,” Shepherd noted. Assistant Public Advocate David Barron said all executions in Kentucky already had been stayed because of questions about the state's means of lethal injection, as well as other issues. Tuesday's ruling continues that stay, he said.