University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Baze v. Rees CJ-KY-0002
Docket / Court 04-CI-1094 ( State Court )
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On August 9, 2004, two death-sentenced prisoners at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville, Kentucky filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Section 17 of the Kentucky Constitution against the Kentucky Department of Corrections in the Kentucky Circuit Court for Franklin County. The ... read more >
On August 9, 2004, two death-sentenced prisoners at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville, Kentucky filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Section 17 of the Kentucky Constitution against the Kentucky Department of Corrections in the Kentucky Circuit Court for Franklin County. The plaintiffs asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that the defendants had threatened to violate their right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by subjecting him to a "cut-down" procedure and "torturing him to death" through the use of a short-acting barbiturate during the lethal injection process. The plaintiffs also alleged that their due process rights were violated by the defendants' refusal to disclose the execution procedures.

On September 8, 2004, the defendants asked the District Court to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated that their lethal injection methodology created an unreasonable and medically unacceptable risk of subjecting them to undue pain and suffering.

On July 8, 2005, the Franklin Circuit Court (Judge Roger L. Crittendon) issued an injunction prohibiting the defendants from utilizing the portion of their lethal injection protocol that permits injection of lethal chemicals into the neck of the condemned prisoner. The court held that all other parts of the state's execution protocol complied with the state and federal constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment. The plaintiffs appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

On November 22, 2006, the Kentucky Supreme Court (Judge Wintersheimer) affirmed the decision of the circuit court, holding that the lethal injection procedures as modified would not violate the rights of the plaintiffs to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Baze v. Rees, 217 S.W.3d 207 (KY 2006).

The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari on October 3, 2007. It issued an opinion on April 16, 2008 and affirmed the decision of the Kentucky Supreme Court. It held that Kentucky's lethal injection protocol does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment because there is not a substantial risk of serious harm, and the risk that the Department of Corrections may erroneously administer the drug does not qualify as such. It also held that Kentucky was under no obligation to adopt any of the allegedly more humane alternatives to its lethal injection protocol. 553 U.S. 35 (2008)

Kristen Sagar - 09/03/2007
Anna Dimon - 05/15/2015


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Death Penalty
Lethal Injection - General
Defendant-type
Corrections
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Kentucky Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Two death-sentenced inmates at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville, Kentucky
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2006 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing CJ-KY-0003 : Moore v. Rees (E.D. Ky.)
CJ-KY-0001 : Bowling v. Haas (E.D. Ky.)
CJ-TN-0004 : Johnson v. Little (M.D. Tenn.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Links Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Complaint 08/09/2004
CJ-KY-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Motion to Compel Discovery 09/01/2004
CJ-KY-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Motion for Temporary Restraining Order 09/03/2004
CJ-KY-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Response to Motion to Dismiss 09/03/2004
CJ-KY-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Renewed Motion for Immediate Trial Date 10/08/2004
CJ-KY-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Motion for Temporary Injunction Barring Execution 11/12/2004
CJ-KY-0002-0010.pdf | Detail
Reply to Response for Temporary Injunction 11/18/2004
CJ-KY-0002-0011.pdf | Detail
Trial Testimony Transcipt (Unofficial) April 18, 2005 04/18/2005
CJ-KY-0002-0021.pdf | Detail
Trial Testimony Transcript (Unofficial) April 19, 2005 04/19/2005
CJ-KY-0002-0022.pdf | Detail
Trial Testimony Transcript (Unofficial) April 20, 2005 04/20/2005
CJ-KY-0002-0023.pdf | Detail
Trial Testimony Transcript (Unofficial) April 21, 2005 04/21/2005
CJ-KY-0002-0024.pdf | Detail
Trial Testimony Transcript (Unofficial) May 2, 2005 05/02/2005
CJ-KY-0002-0025.pdf | Detail
Trial Testimony Transcript (Unofficial) May 10, 2005 05/10/2005
CJ-KY-0002-0026.pdf | Detail
Plaintiff's Post-Trial Brief 05/20/2005
CJ-KY-0002-0013.pdf | Detail
Trial Court Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law 07/08/2005 (2005 WL 5797977)
CJ-KY-0002-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Brief for Appellants 10/06/2005
CJ-KY-0002-0015.pdf | Detail
Reply Brief for Appellants 01/06/2006
CJ-KY-0002-0017.pdf | Detail
Motion for Relief from Judgment 04/24/2006
CJ-KY-0002-0019.pdf | Detail
Kentucky Supreme Court Opinion 11/22/2006 (217 S.W.3d 207)
CJ-KY-0002-0027.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 04/16/2008 (553 U.S. 35)
CJ-KY-0002-0028.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Crittenden, Roger L. (State Trial Court)
CJ-KY-0002-0014 | CJ-KY-0002-0021 | CJ-KY-0002-0022 | CJ-KY-0002-0023 | CJ-KY-0002-0024 | CJ-KY-0002-0025 | CJ-KY-0002-0026
Roberts, John Glover Jr. (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
CJ-KY-0002-0028
Wintersheimer, Donald (State Supreme Court)
CJ-KY-0002-0027
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Balliet, Susan (Kentucky)
CJ-KY-0002-0005 | CJ-KY-0002-0006 | CJ-KY-0002-0007 | CJ-KY-0002-0008 | CJ-KY-0002-0010 | CJ-KY-0002-0011 | CJ-KY-0002-0013 | CJ-KY-0002-0015 | CJ-KY-0002-0017 | CJ-KY-0002-0019 | CJ-KY-0002-0021 | CJ-KY-0002-0022 | CJ-KY-0002-0023 | CJ-KY-0002-0024 | CJ-KY-0002-0025 | CJ-KY-0002-0026
Barron, David M. (Kentucky)
CJ-KY-0002-0006 | CJ-KY-0002-0007 | CJ-KY-0002-0008 | CJ-KY-0002-0009 | CJ-KY-0002-0010 | CJ-KY-0002-0011 | CJ-KY-0002-0013 | CJ-KY-0002-0015 | CJ-KY-0002-0017 | CJ-KY-0002-0019 | CJ-KY-0002-0021 | CJ-KY-0002-0022 | CJ-KY-0002-0023 | CJ-KY-0002-0024 | CJ-KY-0002-0025 | CJ-KY-0002-0026
Shouse, Ted (Kentucky)
CJ-KY-0002-0005 | CJ-KY-0002-0006 | CJ-KY-0002-0007 | CJ-KY-0002-0008 | CJ-KY-0002-0009 | CJ-KY-0002-0010 | CJ-KY-0002-0011 | CJ-KY-0002-0013 | CJ-KY-0002-0021 | CJ-KY-0002-0022 | CJ-KY-0002-0023 | CJ-KY-0002-0024 | CJ-KY-0002-0025 | CJ-KY-0002-0026
Defendant's Lawyers Judy, Brian (Kentucky)
CJ-KY-0002-0021 | CJ-KY-0002-0022 | CJ-KY-0002-0023 | CJ-KY-0002-0024 | CJ-KY-0002-0025 | CJ-KY-0002-0026
Middendorf, Jeffrey T. (Kentucky)
CJ-KY-0002-0021 | CJ-KY-0002-0022 | CJ-KY-0002-0023 | CJ-KY-0002-0024 | CJ-KY-0002-0025 | CJ-KY-0002-0026
Smith, David A. (Kentucky)
CJ-KY-0002-0021 | CJ-KY-0002-0022 | CJ-KY-0002-0023 | CJ-KY-0002-0024 | CJ-KY-0002-0025 | CJ-KY-0002-0026
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -