This week without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court indefinitely stayed the execution of Russell Bucklew who was to be executed in Missouri on Wednesday. In doing so the Court may have prevented a catastrophe similar to the botched execution that took place in Oklahoma last month.
For years Bucklew’s attorneys had been seeking additional medical evaluation for his rare, congenital condition, cavernous hemangioma, which causes weakened and malformed blood vessels, as well as tumors in his nose and throat. His medical condition, combined with the secrecy surrounding Missouri’s execution procedures, had his attorneys arguing in court that Bucklew had a high chance of suffering an agonizing death that would violate the Constitution. By halting the execution, the case now goes back to a lower federal court that will further examine these claims.
The botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma raised a national outcry about how executions are being carried out in this country; as a result, several states have called off executions. But Missouri officials, despite pleas to halt this execution, were willing to gamble with the execution process. Fortunately, the high court was not willing to take the chance with another problematic execution.
The MCC wants to thank the members of our network who joined with us in contacting Governor Nixon to stop this execution. Regardless of one’s position on the death penalty, no one wants a tortuous execution. Let’s hope this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is the beginning realization that there is no humane way to take a life.
Posted: May 23, 2014