Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Announces Intent to Sign Baze Death Warrant
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Office of Governor Ernie Fletcher announced today that Governor Fletcher intends to sign a death warrant for Ralph Baze, Jr. on Wednesday. The warrant affirms the finding of an impartial jury and the decisions of the Rowan County Circuit Court, the Kentucky Supreme Court and various federal courts.
In December 1993, Baze was convicted of the 1992 murders of Powell County Sheriff Steve Bennett and Deputy Arthur Briscoe. The substantive appeals of the case are exhausted and the execution is no longer stayed.
Governor Fletcher received the request for a death warrant from the Office of the Attorney General on August 14. The Governor has reviewed the Baze file and was fully briefed by his General Counsel, David Fleenor, Esq., on the underlying crime, the applicable law and the status of the case.
A copy of the summary prepared by Fleenor is attached.
These decisions are among the most important any Governor makes. Governor Fletcher undertakes this duty with the utmost care and attention. Justice demands a judicial process that affords the accused a fair and impartial hearing. Baze received that. Justice likewise requires imposition of the penalty commensurate with the offense. Here, a jury found that Baze planned and murdered a sheriff and a sheriff’s deputy. Imposition of the death penalty is therefore appropriate.
“As the chief magistrate of the Commonwealth, it is fitting and just under the law that the Governor’s constitutional authority is exercised,” said Fleenor. “To this end, the Governor intends to sign the death warrant for Baze on Wednesday.”
The signing will be done privately.