Government officials in Kentucky are facing mounting pressure to consider a moratorium on the state's death penalty. An American Bar Association report calling for a halt to executions now has the backing of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
The ABA report, two years in the making, found that more than 60 percent of capital convictions in Kentucky have been overturned on appeal. It also recommended that the state adopt tighter regulations to guard against executions of the mentally ill.
"Given the serious nature of what we were dealing with and the serious nature of the problems we saw, we didn't have any choice here but to recommend a suspension of the death penalty," Linda Ewald, co-chair of the team that assessed Kentucky's policies, said.
Ewald says a temporary suspension would allow officials to address concerns highlighted in the report. In a press release, the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has called for the ABA's recommendations to be fully implemented. Kentucky's executions are already on hold pending the outcome of a Franklin Circuit Court case.