Open comment period for execution protocol begins

The Kentucky Department of Corrections opened a public comment period on Sept. 4 about new regulations governing executions in Kentucky.

The Commonwealth has revised its execution protocol in three regulations published Sept. 3. A lethal mixture of three drugs was in the past used to carry out executions. The new regulations propose using one of two drugs to carry out a lethal injection.

The public may submit written comments through Oct. 1. A public hearing date also is set for Sept. 25 at 9 a.m. in the Transportation Cabinet Building auditorium at 200 Mero St. in Frankfort, Ky.

The Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, led by Father Patrick Delahanty, is urging Catholics and others concerned about the use of capital punishment to speak out against the new execution protocol.

Father Delahanty said during a phone interview last week that “we would encourage individuals to address the protocols.” But he noted that comments about whether or not the death penalty should be used at all will not be considered.

He also noted that the coalition is not likely to comment about the protocol “because we don’t see ourselves as a group that’s interested in getting it (lethal injection) right, because we don’t believe they can.

“The state has no business regulating how you kill people,” he said. “But we want people to comment on the protocols themselves and the flaws that are in them.”

The coalition also has posted on its website, www.kcadp.org, a lengthy analysis and guide to the new regulations as well as links to the regulations.

“People can look at those guidelines to get some ideas,” Father Delahanty added.

Those who plan to speak at the public hearing on Sept. 25 must notify the Department of Corrections in writing by Sept. 18.

This notification and written comments — which may be submitted by any person in the United States — may be mailed to Amy V. Barker, Assistant General Counsel, Department of Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, 125 Holmes St., Frankfort, Ky., 40601. They maybe faxed to 502-564-6686. Comments must be received by Oct. 1 at 4:30 p.m. Communications should be labeled: “Death Penalty Procedures.”

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