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Letters of Support: #ClemencyForBrian

This month, organizations and individuals submitted letters to Governor Parson in support of clemency for Brian Dorsey. 

A letter from former Missouri Supreme Court Justice, Michael Wolff calls attention to the injustices of the flat-fee system. The payment structure, discouraged by the American Bar Association in capital cases, is no longer used by Missouri’s public defender system in death penalty cases. Had Brian’s attorney presented mitigating evidence, jurors may have returned a life sentence instead of the death penalty. Read the letter here.

Former Supreme Court Justice, Michael Wolff writes: 

“I was one of the Missouri Supreme Court judges who upheld the judgment including the sentence of death in the direct appeal of Mr. Dorsey’s case in 2009. At that time, none of us on the Court were aware of how compromised and ineffective his trial lawyers were. The first defect, which undoubtedly influenced everything, was that the two lawyers who were appointed to represent Mr. Dorsey were paid a flat fee by the Missouri Public Defenders office.”

Another noteworthy letter came from a group of leading national mental health organizations including NAMI, Inseparable, The Treatment Advocacy Center, and Mental Health America.  Their letter delves into the issue that Mr. Dorsey was very likely experiencing substance-induced psychosis at the time of the crime. Read the letter here

They write:

“The crime which resulted in the death of two of Brian Dorsey’s family members was tragic and Mr. Dorsey lives daily with the remorse he feels for these crimes, commited at a time in which he was not in a rational state of mind. However, executing Mr. Dorsey will serve no useful purpose, a fact that has been recognized by numerous family members, including relatives of the victims. We therefore respectfully request that you commute his death sentence to life without parole.”

These letters of support serve to expose and analyze the significant flaws ingrained within the death penalty system, emphasizing the urgent need for clemency in Brian’s case. They come in addition to letters from former Potosi Warden Troy Steele and the support of over 70 Corrections Officers in calling for #ClemencyForBrian.

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