On April 19, 2006, an death row inmate at the Kentucky State Penitentiary filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Kentucky state law against the Kentucky Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Central Division at Frankfort. The plaintiff ...
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On April 19, 2006, an death row inmate at the Kentucky State Penitentiary filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Kentucky state law against the Kentucky Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Central Division at Frankfort. The plaintiff alleged that Kentucky’s method of carrying out his death sentence by lethal injection would violate his right to be free from “Cruel and Unusual Punishments” under the Eighth Amendment. The plaintiff asked the court for injunctive relief, arguing that the officially unapproved written procedures used by the defendants for conducting an execution should be declared unenforceable. He asked the Court to bar the defendants from carrying out any execution until they had promulgated a rule officially detailing all aspects of the procedures used in the execution process. On April 26, 2006, the plaintiff filed a similar complaint in the Kentucky Circuit Court for Franklin County.
After the case was filed, several other inmates intervened and joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs. The Franklin Circuit Court held a full trial in the case of Bowling and Baze, holding that the state’s lethal injection method did not violate their Eighth Amendment rights. They appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court, who affirmed the decision on November 22, 2006. Baze v. Rees, 217 S.W.3d 207, 2006 WL 3386544 (Ky. 2006). Baze and Bowling filed their motions to intervene in this action five days later.
The defendants in this case asked the District Court to dismiss Bowling and Baze as plaintiffs, holding that they were precluded from bringing their claims because they had already had a full trial on the merits. On March 30, 2007, the Court (Judge Karen K. Caldwell) denied Moore’s request for a preliminary injunction and stay of execution and denied Moore’s motion to compel the defendants to disclose Kentucky’s electrocution protocol. Moore v. Rees, 2007 WL 1035012 (E.D.Ky. 2007).
On August 14, 2007, the Attorney General of Kentucky filed a formal request with Kentucky Governor to schedule Baze’s execution. The Governor subsequently set Baze’s execution date for September 25, 2007. Baze filed a number of motions seeking discovery related to the merits of his underlying claim regarding the constitutionality of Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol, as well as motions to stay his execution pending resolution of both procedural and substantive matters in the present case. On September 25, 2007, the Court (Judge Karen K. Caldwell) ruled on those motions. Baze’s motion to intervene was denied, and his motions to stay his execution were also denied as moot. Both Baze and Bowling appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. However, in March 2009, the appellants voluntarily dismissed the appeal.
(Updated on 03/11/2012)Xin Chen - 03/11/2012