Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 11, 2013

DNA bill ‘matter of justice’

Senate votes unanimously in favor

FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Senate unanimously passed a bill Monday that would allow those in prison to seek DNA testing to prove their innocence.

Senate Bill 23’s sponsor, Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, said the bill “is a matter of justice.”

According to the Innocence Project, a national organization affiliated with the Benjamin Cardoza School of Law, Yeshiva University in New York, 302 serving felony prison time have been proven innocent using DNA testing.

Currently under Kentucky law, only those on death row can seek to have their convictions overturned using the DNA testing technology.

Schickel’s bill makes a concession to prosecutors who want to exclude those who plead guilty or take an Alford Plea, something Schickel said he’d prefer not to do, but was willing to accept because passage of the amended bill is a significant improvement over the current law.

Some senators, like Robin Webb, D-Grayson, objected to the change, but in the end voted for the bill for the same reason – that it nonetheless represents a major improvement.  Webb argues an Alford Plea is maintaining one’s innocence.

(An Alford Plea allows a defendant to avoid pleading guilty while recognizing the weight of the evidence is likely enough to convict him. Usually in such cases, an Alford Plea has been negotiated in return for a lighter sentence.)

In explaining her floor vote Monday, Webb said the bill “is not perfect but it is a great, great start.”

Another Democratic Senator, Kathy Stein of Lexington, shares Webb’s concerns, but like Webb voted for Schickel’s bill. She said it serves the interests of justice.

“If we have a person in prison who is innocent of a crime, that means the true perpetrator is still on the loose,” Stein said.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, also spoke in favor of the bill, noting he was an assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for the first five years of his legal career.

Text Only
Local News
  • Town stuck with school after court order

    A southwestern Kentucky community is stuck with an unused school at the moment after a judge issued an order stopping its sale for the moment.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lexington school finds crude bottle bombs on campus

    A bottle bomb exploded at a Lexington school, chasing band members inside and bringing police to the scene.

    July 24, 2014

  • News in brief, 07/24/14

    A Fleming County man was arrested on sex charges Tuesday by the Kentucky State Police.

    July 23, 2014

  • Boyd/Greenup backpack program turns 10

    For 10 years, the Ashland Alliance Young Professionals Association has been helping children start their school year off right.

    July 23, 2014

  • Area water plants recognized

    Water treatment plants across the state were recognized for consistently producing drinking water in 2013 that exceeded state and federal water quality standards, including the Rattlesnake Ridge Water District in Olive Hill and six others.

    July 23, 2014

  • City gives wastewater treatment plant operations to Greenup agency

    During joint special meetings of the Greenup Joint Sewer Agency and the Wurtland city commission on Tuesday, Wurtland agreed to hand over operations of its wastewater treatment plant to the agency.
    Pending the signing and approval of certain legal documents, plant operations will officially be under the GJSA on Aug. 1.

    July 23, 2014

  • Edelen studies fiscal health of rural hospitals

    On the fourth stop of his listening tour to address the fiscal health of rural hospitals, Adam Edelen said the crowd in Morehead was the largest he has seen yet.
    The big attendance attests to how seriously the region regards the issue of sustainability of local hospitals, he said.

    July 23, 2014

  • Putnam renovations ‘coming together’ as football season approaches

    Locker rooms are beginning to take shape at Putnam Stadium as rebuilding of the venerable arena nears completion.
    Workers are readying concrete forms on the home side and grading the site on the visitors’ side and soon will erect the structures, the goal to have them ready to use for the first home game of the 2014 season Aug. 22.

    July 23, 2014

  • Huntington man wanted for armed robbery

    The Ashland Police Department is searching for an 18-year-old Huntington man who was involved in an armed robbery last month.

    July 23, 2014

  • Detroit man arrested near Fairview

    A Detroit man was arrested Wednesday after an undercover drug buy near Fairview High School, the Boyd County Sheriff's Department reported.

    July 23, 2014