302 S.W.3d 57 (Ky. 2010), 2009-SC-000188-MR, Baze v. Thompson

Docket Nº:2009-SC-000188-MR.
Citation:302 S.W.3d 57
Opinion Judge:CUNNINGHAM, Justice.
Party Name:Ralph BAZE, Appellant, v. Ladonna THOMPSON, Commissioner Department of Corrections, Appellee.
Attorney:David Michael Barron, Department of Public Advocacy, Frankfort, KY, Dennis James Burke, Assistant Public Advocate, Department of Public Advocacy, LaGrange, KY, Counsel for Appellant. Jack Conway, Attorney General, David Wayne Barr, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Criminal Appeals, James Hay...
Judge Panel:All concur.
Case Date:January 21, 2010
Court:Supreme Court of Kentucky
 
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Page 57

302 S.W.3d 57 (Ky. 2010)

Ralph BAZE, Appellant,

v.

Ladonna THOMPSON, Commissioner Department of Corrections, Appellee.

No. 2009-SC-000188-MR.

Supreme Court of Kentucky.

January 21, 2010

Page 58

David Michael Barron, Department of Public Advocacy, Frankfort, KY, Dennis James Burke, Assistant Public Advocate, Department of Public Advocacy, LaGrange, KY, Counsel for Appellant.

Jack Conway, Attorney General, David Wayne Barr, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Criminal Appeals, James Hays Lawson, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Office of Criminal Appeals, William Robert Long, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Appellate Division, Frankfort, KY, Counsel for Appellee.

OPINION

CUNNINGHAM, Justice.

Appellant, Ralph Baze, appeals an order of the Franklin Circuit Court denying his petition for declaratory judgment. Baze, a death row inmate, was convicted of the double murder of two police officers. The conviction and sentence were affirmed by this Court. Baze v. Commonwealth, 965 S.W.2d 817 (Ky.1997). See also Baze v. Commonwealth, 23 S.W.3d 619 (Ky.2000); Baze v. Commonwealth, Nos. 2005-SC-0415-MR and 2005-SC-0420-MR, 2006 WL 1360188 (Ky. May 18, 2006); Baze v. Commonwealth, No.2005-SC-0889-MR, 2006 WL 1360281 (Ky. May 18, 2006); Baze v. Commonwealth, 276 S.W.3d 761 (Ky.2008). In the present action, Baze argues that he has been denied due process of law by the Department of Corrections in the preparation of his petition for clemency.

Counsel for Baze contacted the Department of Corrections requesting permission to interview guards, the death row unit administrator, and death-sentenced inmates at the Kentucky State Penitentiary where Baze is housed. The purpose of the request was to develop information pertaining to Baze's mental health that could potentially be used in a clemency petition. The request was denied.

Baze filed a complaint pursuant to CR 57, CR 65.01 and KRS 418.040 seeking a declaratory judgment that his constitutional rights to due process had been violated. He also sought an injunction requiring the Department of Corrections to allow his counsel access to the identified persons. The Franklin Circuit Court denied the motion.

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Accepting Baze's contention that he is being denied access to the identified inmates and prison employees, the trial court nonetheless determined that...

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