“Missourians, even those who support the death penalty, do not want to torture an individual through a prolonged, excruciating execution. We are relieved that Mr. Bucklew’s execution has been stayed, and we will continue to lift the voices of Missourians who beseech Governor Nixon to act with transparency and accountability when it comes to the death penalty in our state.” --Rita Linhardt, Chair of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
Late Wednesday night, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a stay of execution for Russell Bucklew in Missouri, allowing his appeal with the 8th Circuit Court to proceed.
“We still don’t know all of what went wrong last month in Oklahoma, but we do know that the cause of that disaster was that the state insisted on proceeding in secrecy. For Missouri to follow suit would have been unconscionable,” said Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. “The problems that arise with shrouding the execution process in secrecy are not limited to this case. We are calling on Governor Nixon and all governors in death penalty states to halt all executions given that they cannot provide assurances that the death penalty will be carried out in accordance with the protections granted under the Constitution.”
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP) and Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (MADP) applaud the court’s decision to allow Mr. Bucklew’s claims under the Eighth Amendment to be heard.
We know that what happened in Oklahoma was not an isolated incident. We have seen time and again how the death penalty fails us. We cannot proceed with executions in this country where evidence of the risk of executing the innocent is mounting, racial bias in sentencing is well documented, and legal protections against executing those with intellectual disabilities and preventing cruel and unusual punishment are disregarded by state lawmakers. No executions should go forward in this climate. Americans who oppose the death penalty are outraged, organized, and ready to fight to halt all executions nationwide—we must start with halting the executions in Missouri.
The world is watching. The nation is paying attention. The time to end capital punishment is now.