This week religious leaders, including the Catholic bishops of Missouri, filed a clemency petition with Governor Nixon asking that he stop the execution of Herbert Smulls.
Besides stating their moral opposition to capital punishment, the clemency petition highlighted the role that racial bias played in this case. Smulls’ first trial, heard by a multi-racial jury, resulted in a hung jury. In his re-trial, the prosecutor removed an African American juror, resulting in an all-white jury that convicted and sentenced Smulls to death. Smulls’ case has been litigated for over 20 years and Smulls has won no fewer than three appeals-only to have them all eventually overturned.
Catholics can join with religious leaders by contacting Governor Nixon and asking him to stop the execution. Remind the Governor of the role that racial bias played into the case. The governor may be contacted by phone (573-751-3222), fax (573-751-1495), or email.
Posted: January 24, 2014