The Libertarian Party condemns the scheduled Aug. 22 execution of Marcellus Williams by the State of Missouri — both as a shocking miscarriage of justice for the individual and as another tragic example of the immorality that lies at the root of capital punishment and its use nationwide.
In 2001, Mr. Williams was convicted and sentenced to die for a murder he allegedly committed in 1998. Recently, new DNA evidence — which was collected at the crime scene — came to light, potentially proving Williams’s innocence. Williams and his legal team requested that new DNA evidence be tested. On Aug. 15, however, with only a week before the scheduled execution date, federal judges denied the request and did not provide a specific explanation to justify their decision.
“Time and time again, wrongfully convicted individuals are put to death,” said Libertarian Party Chair Nicholas Sarwark, a former public defender. “The number of wrongful executions is damning, but also irrelevant. The death penalty is a barbaric practice that, thankfully, is decreasing worldwide and should be abolished in the United States.”
Since World War II, 102 countries have completely discontinued the practice of capital punishment. According to Wikipedia, most First World nations have abolished the practice, with notable exception being the United States, China, South Korea, and some Islamic states. The United States is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that still allows the death penalty. Only 31 state governments within the United States practice it, with seven having abolished it in the past 10 years. There is a governor’s moratorium on capital punishment in four of the 31 remaining states.
We encourage all concerned citizens who are opposed to the execution of Marcellus Williams and the immoral act of capital punishment as a whole to contact Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and demand that he halts Williams’s execution. Call him at (573) 751-3222, or tweet to @EricGreitens.