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MADP Launches Advocacy Toolkit for #JohnnyJohnson

On August 1, 2023, the state of Missouri plans to execute Johnny Johnson for the murder of Cassandra "Casey" Williamson in 2005. Johnny's case serves as a stark reminder of the flaws within our mental health and justice systems when it comes to individuals struggling with mental illness. It is crucial that we learn more about Johnny, humanize his story, and join the collective voice advocating for clemency

At the heart of this case lies the question of Johnny's mental competency. The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, such as the execution of individuals who lack a "rational understanding" of the reasons behind their execution. Johnny firmly believes that his impending execution is part of Satan's plan to bring about the end of the world, as communicated to him through the "voice of Satan."

Given Johnny's inability to comprehend the rational reasons for his execution, the Constitution guarantees him the right to a hearing. It is crucial to recognize that Johnny's competency claim is supported by several critical facts.

From early childhood, Johnny exhibited developmental disabilities, and throughout his life, he has grappled with

severe mental illness and cognitive impairments. His psychiatric history includes multiple hospitalizations and suicide attempts, leaving an indelible mark on his overall well-being. Numerous evaluations conducted both in hospitals and carceral settings have consistently confirmed the presence of a psychotic disorder and severe mental illness.

Executing Johnny in his current mental condition would not only disregard the principles of fairness but also violate the standards of decency enshrined in the Eighth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It is imperative that Governor Parson exercises his executive clemency powers and grants a stay of execution, allowing for a fair hearing to address Johnny's competency claim.

This toolkit equips you with valuable resources, information, and actionable steps to help amplify the calls for justice.

Johnny Johnson's case is a painful reminder of the injustices that individuals with mental illness face within our legal system. By shedding light on Johnny's story, uplifting his humanity, and joining the chorus demanding #ClemencyForJohnny, we can strive for a more just and compassionate society.

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