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May 14, 2020

ABA urges Missouri Governor Parson to grant Walter Barton a reprieve on execution date

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2020 — American Bar Association President Judy Perry Martinez sent a letter Wednesday to Missouri Gov. Michael Parson to express concern regarding the execution of Walter Barton.

Given the unprecedented limitations on effective representation the COVID-19 crisis has created, the ABA urged Gov. Parson to exercise his power to reprieve Barton’s May 19 execution date. Additionally, in light of the troubling history of this case, the lingering doubts around guilt, and the procedural bars limiting the courts’ ability to review important evidence, the ABA urged Parson to consider commissioning a Board of Inquiry to review Barton’s conviction and sentence.

The ABA does not take a position on the constitutionality of the death penalty itself. Instead, it is committed to ensuring that no death sentence is carried out without due process of law or zealous representation by counsel throughout every stage of the legal proceedings, including in applications for executive clemency.

You can read a copy of the letter here.

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