13 February 2022 :
House advances 76-19 bill HB 269 banning death penalty for people with mental illness
Kentuckians who have some serious mental illnesses won’t be subject to the death penalty under a bill that passed out of the state House of Representatives on Wednesday. The measure now heads to the state Senate, which hasn’t supported similar proposals in recent years.
Under House Bill 269, people who have been diagnosed by a mental health professional with at least one of four serious illnesses could not be sentenced to execution.
The death penalty ban would apply to people diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder or delusional disorder.
The measure would remove execution as a possible punishment for people who have active symptoms of those mental illnesses at the time of an offense, as long as they were previously diagnosed by a provider.
Though Kentucky has handed down 82 death sentences since 1975, only three people have been executed during that period, according to a report sponsored by the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. The last execution was in 2008. According to the report, of those 82 death sentences imposed, 41 have been reversed.