In Kentucky, Execution Debate Finds New Footing

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky lawmakers are set to embark on a discussion of whether executions should have a place in Kentucky's criminal justice system and, if so, how should it be carried out.

The joint legislative committee hearing set for Friday morning in Paducah comes amid the backdrop of a spate of botched executions around the country this year.

Kentucky is a long way from becoming a rare Southern state without capital punishment. This gathering cannot set policies or make official recommendations. Efforts to repeal the death penalty haven't gotten off the ground in recent attempts in the General Assembly.

The public hearing, however, is the first of its kind since Kentucky reinstated the death penalty in 1975, a four-decade stretch during which the state has executed three men, with 34 more people on death row.

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