State Alone In Lack Of Formal Clemency Procedure

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The power of kings to spare a condemned person's life lies solely with the governor in Kentucky. It's one of a select few states where the chief executive can spare death row inmates, shorten sentences and forgive crimes without oversight or having to explain his actions.

A review of clemency laws and policies across the country by The Associated Press shows nearly all other states have regulations to follow and oversight – including in some cases having to explain a decision to legislators.

Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, two condemned inmates in Kentucky have gotten reprieves. The state is currently barred from executing anyone until a judge decides on the legality of the drugs used. The state has executed three people in that time.