Friday, August 31, 2007

From this week's LEO:

Kentucky seeks eye-replacement eye
Dr. Ernie Fletcher took a well-deserved break from hating gambling last week to spend some time hating killing. And what better way to show revulsion for killing than by signing a death warrant? With a jaunty wink at his Hippocratic Oath to “never deliberately do harm to anyone,” Dr. Fletcher signed the death warrant for Ralph Steven Baze, who is convicted of the 1993 murder of two Powell County policemen. Barring appeals, Kentucky will kill Baze on Sept. 25, six weeks before Election Day.

Baze’s execution would be the first in Kentucky since 1999, which makes the commonwealth downright civilized compared to Pentateuchian, Texas. Them boys just offed their 400th prisoner since 1982, almost single-handedly keeping the U.S. among the world’s elite eight in executions, behind China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Sudan. Lest you think Republicans are the only pro-death party, note that Democrat Attorney General Greg Stumbo asked Dr. Fletcher to sign the Baze warrant and that Democrat gubernatorial candidate Steve Beshear dashed out a statement supporting the death penalty for “certain specific crimes.”

Meanwhile, another Kentucky death-row inmate wants his conviction set aside because prosecutors lost DNA evidence. Convicted murderer Brian Keith Moore claims DNA on missing pants would prove he is innocent of a 1979 murder. The pants-less prosecutors contend Moore is trying to get off on a technicality, but more than 100 death-row prisoners have been released nationwide in recent years, 13 of them because new DNA tests proved their innocence.

But wait, there’s more. Yet another death-row inmate is making headlines in Kentucky. Convicted child-killer Marco Allen Chapman asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to uphold his death sentence, despite defense arguments that anyone asking for death is incompetent by default. The court sided with Chapman, perhaps suggesting that his death wish is the sanest argument of the week.

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