Two days before the state’s next scheduled execution, a call for an execution moratorium will be filed in the state senate.
Lawyers are hoping to get a stay of execution for Herbert Smulls, who is scheduled to die early Wednesday morning for murdering a man in 1991. His lawyer has gone to federal court, asking for a sixty-day delay, arguing the drug used to kill Smulls could cause him to suffer.
Controversy about the drug, the origin of it, and the safety of it leads Senator Jolie Justus to propose an indefinite moratorium while a commission studies the execution protocol. “I’m not saying this man should not be executed. I’m saying we need at least sixty days to get this sorted out so the people of the state of Missouri, the legislature, everybody involved in this process can fully understand how we are executing people…whether it is legal, moral and ethical because right now we don’t know the answers because they won’t even give us access to the information,” she says.
Although she says “sixty days,” her resolution has no definite date for completing the study.
Moratorium efforts have failed in the legislature in recent years and Justus says she has no assurances this proposal will succeed, either. But she says the people of Missouri deserve to hear the conversation about the how the state extracts its ultimate penalty.