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Beshear Asked To Delay Executions

A letter has been sent to Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear asking him to suspend executions in the state until the budget outlook improves.Death Row inmates are typically represented by the Department of Public Advocacy, which says it will run out of money to pay public defenders in May.Among those who signed the letter was former Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney Marc Murphy, who says it would be unconstitutional to expect court-appointed lawyers to represent the inmates under the present fiscal circumstances."Every citizen has a right to defense. that right becomes even more important when it's capital prosecution for obvious reasons. and right now citizens are being deprived of that defense. it's just an untenable situation," Murphy said.The governor's office has not acted on the request, but a spokesperson says it's unlikely there will be any executions during the current fiscal year, anyway.Public defenders have also filed suit in an effort to either obtain more funding or be permitted reduce their caseloads.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.