Updated: Jan 20, 2021
With over 8,000 signatures, we are so grateful for your support for clemency for Ernest Johnson. Today we are asking you to share this petition to reach our next goal of 10,000 signatures.
The constitutional issues of executing those with intellectual disabilities are not new. Recently, it has been brought to the forefront with the resumption of federal executions. On December 11th, the federal government executed Alfred Bourgies and on January 14th, Corey Johnson, both men had intellectual disability claims and were not afforded a hearing by The United States Supreme Court.
In a study released in December 2020, Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) pointed to the disproportionate number of death sentences imposed on people of color with intellectual disabilities:
“The review of more than 130 cases involving defendants whose death sentences have been overturned because of the constitutional prohibition against executing persons with intellectual disability found that more than 80% of intellectually disabled defendants sentenced to death are persons of color. Two-thirds of the intellectually disabled defendants sentenced to death are African American (87, or 66.4%); 19.1% (25) are white; 13.7% (18) are Latinx, and one (0.8%) is Asian.” - DPIC, December 2020
DPIC Executive Robert Dunham, who conducted the analysis, said “[t]he numbers further confirm what researchers have repeatedly documented in other contexts: that vulnerable defendants who belong to communities that have historically been discriminated against by the criminal legal system face an elevated risk of being wrongfully sentenced to death. The findings are especially significant now, as the federal government and several states are rushing to execute a number of intellectually disabled Black men without affording them meaningful judicial review of legal claims that, if proven, would require their death sentences to be vacated.”
While we await the results of a pending motion from the United States Supreme Court regarding Johnson’s execution method, we continue to build support for Ernest’s clemency. Stigmatization and stereotyping of those with intellectual disabilities oftentimes cause discrimination and must be combatted.
Today, we ask that you sign and share Ernest Johnson’s petition for clemency and demand that Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, and Governor Mike Parson commit to protecting those with intellectual disability, and grant clemency to Ernest Lee Johnson. Visit www.change.org/save-ernest-johnson today to sign, and share the petition.
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