Judge Maines said the law allowed him to hold the trial where it was most convenient for his schedule. Kentucky's highest court was to hear the case on Nov. 15 but has decided to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the lethal injection issue.
The Kentucky Supreme Court granted Baze a stay of execution. They should have heard this appeal as scheduled to prevent this from being an issue in another trial. He waited more than 10 years to file this appeal after his conviction.
Lethal injection is now being seen as a violation of criminals' Eighth Amendment rights. Opponents claim it is cruel and unusual punishment that causes the prisoner to experience the "torture" of suffocating to death or having their veins seared by the heart toxin. They claim the Kentucky formula may leave condemned prisoners unconscious but still able to feel pain because enough sodium thiopenthal, an anesthetic, may not be absorbed before the killing drugs are administered. Maybe an increase of the anesthetic until the prisoner closes his eyes could solve the problem.
The change of venue should have been appealed within days. The lethal injection issue has already been heard in Kentucky and courts have ruled that it is not cruel and unusual punishment.
Kentucky needs to evaluate its appeals process for death row inmates. It is a slap in the face to the state's taxpayers and victims' families who have to suffer for many long and difficult years.
If Kentucky is going to have a death penalty, it should be carried out in a reasonable time: five years. There should be only three appeals: the Kentucky Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court, and lastly, the governor.
I ask that newly elected Gov. Steve Beshear and other elected state officials examine the appeals process and fix it during their next session.
Health reform needed
To the Sun:
About a month ago, my mom took me to Clay City to to the Kentucky River Foothills medical facility because I was having severe leg pain and was sick. The doctor asked me when I'd last seen a doctor. It was 1997.
She couldn't believe it! I am one of millions of folks who have no health insurance. The fast food places I've worked for don't offer it. My mom has tried to help, but I am independent and wouldn't let her.
The doctor checked me out and did blood work. Everything was running way out of control: my blood sugar, a kidney abnormality and a possible blood clot in my leg.
A nurse gave me an insulin shot. The doctor told me to go to the hospital in Estill County to get an ultrasound done on my leg.
The doctor asked me if I'd been to get help at the ministry mission here. I had, and they told me it would be a four-month wait. The doctor said they get a lot of people up there from Winchester.
I was given much-needed medication and an appointment to come back in a month.
My blood sugar is looking much better, and the hospital in Estill County found no clot. This little hospital was friendly, clean and efficient.
The doctor told me to fight to get the care I need.
It's pitiful I had to go to another county to get help. Powell County isn't nearly as big or as wealthy as Clark County.
I've lived and paid taxes in Clark County all my life. If our hospital is overcrowded, we need to get a bigger place with more help.
Lastly, we have that man in the White House to blame for not having health care for all Americans. Aren't we more important than the billions he is wasting on a useless war in Iraq? The recent health insurance bill he turned down says a lot about him.