criminal justice

Local News
2:14 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Kentucky Felon Voting Rights Bill's Hopes Rest on Rand Paul's Support


A bill to restore voting rights for non-violent felons has passed a Kentucky House committee.

The measure is Rep. Jesse Crenshaw's latest attempt to put about 130,000 felons back on the voting rolls.

Similar efforts have repeatedly stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. But Crenshaw says he hopes that his bill will fare better this year because of support from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.

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Local News
2:00 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Southern Indiana Authorities Missed Opportunities to Arrest Richard Hooten Before Teen's Murder

Richard Hooten in 1985
Credit Kentucky Department of Correctins

Richard Carley Hooten had two warrants out for his arrest and a wife who ratted him out to police. Yet for six months, he still evaded capture by Clark County authorities.

Hooten apparently didn’t go far, didn’t run, didn’t hide. The 50-year-old roamed free, worked at a Louisville furniture store, consorted with other women and, by his own admission, even sexually assaulted one of them.

Then on March 2, the serial sex offender with six felony convictions allegedly raped and killed 17-year-old Tara Rose Willenborg in her Clarksville apartment.

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Local News
12:26 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Kentucky Corrections Department Addresses DNA Collection Problems

Credit Creative Commons

The Kentucky Department of Corrections has outlined a plan to remedy a faulty DNA collection system for convicted felons months after the Office of the Inspector General reported that more than 16,000 DNA samples were missing.

In 2009, the state legislature passed a bill requiring the collection of DNA samples from convicted felons. So the Department of Corrections delegated that responsibility to its probation and parole officers. But this summer, the inspector general's  investigation found that that this wasn’t happening.

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2:01 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Indiana's Legal System Gave Richard Hooten Many Chances—Then a Teenager Died

Richard Hooten in 1985
Credit Kentucky Department of Corrections

For nearly three decades, Richard Carley Hooten blazed a trail of lawlessness from his hometown of Louisville to Georgia and back.

He bounced in and out of prison, his rap sheet growing conviction by conviction. Rape. Stabbing. Sexual assault. Prison escape. Drug dealing. He did them all.

Back in southern Indiana in early 2009, Hooten resumed his crime spree. Again and again he was offered more chances, from prosecutors and judges, to break the law. Each time, he accepted.

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Local News
6:55 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Sen. Gerald Neal Files Bill to Replace Kentucky Death Penalty


State Sen. Gerald Neal plans to file a bill that would replace the death penalty in Kentucky with a sentence of life without parole.

For years, Neal has filed a bill to outlaw the death penalty.

But he says a combination of factors—ranging from reticence by party leaders who support it but don’t want to appear soft on crime, to those who believe in the death penalty as a means of justice—have prevented the bill from getting traction.

Neal says he continues filing the measure to keep the issue front and center.

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Local News
6:35 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Kentucky Improves Website to Look Up Prison Inmates


The Kentucky Department of Corrections has enhanced the website where people can look up the status of inmates in the state's prison system. It's providing a lot more details.

The old website gave basic information (which I was familiar with in my former life covering public safety)—the basics like the offense for which an inmate was serving, the length of the sentence and a photo (maybe). 

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Local News
1:50 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Kentucky Will Use Single Drug for Executions

Kentucky is the latest state to switch to a single-drug execution method for inmates on death row.

The state previously used the a three-drug cocktail in lethal executions. But Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ordered the state to rethink that process to avoid accusations of cruel and usual punishment.

Officials have spent the last two months doing just that, and a new brief filed this week says executions will be done with either the anesthetic sodium thiopental or the barbiturate pentobarbital.

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