Ky. 'so unprepared' to administer death penalty that state should halt it, Rep. Yonts says

01/15/2013 04:19 PM

Kentucky should stop using the death penalty because the state’s capital punishment process is such a mess and has allowed innocent people to be put on death row, said Democratic Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville.

“I basically believe that the death penalty should not be abolished, but if we cannot administer it fairly, humanely and according to the constitution, we should not administer it,” said Yonts, vice chairman of the Judiciary Committee (5:30).

“I had what might be called a deep throat within the system tell me — or actually give me a paper on how we were so unprepared to do the death penalty as it was statutorily required to be done in Kentucky,” he said. “The American Bar Association basically said the same thing.” The Bar Association released a report in December 2011 recommending a suspension of the death penalty and more than 55 recommendations to fix the process.

Also watch the video at 7:00 to see what he says about the effect of a law the General Assembly passed last year aimed at cutting down on manufacturing methamphetamine in Kentucky.

This part of the interview picked up where the first segment left off with Yonts addressing the issue of how counties and cities are facing layoffs as they try to free up the money to pay their contributions into the County Employees Retirement System.

“I can promise you, we will look at the issue. I can promise you, I will chair the meeting. I’m one vote out of 138,” he said (0:55).

Yonts said he supports ending a provision that allows legislators to greatly enhance their pension benefits if they switch to a higher-paying government job. “The public doesn’t like it, let’s put it that way. And I don’t like it either,” he said.

But he said he doesn’t favor ending pensions for future lawmakers (2:45).

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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