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Conservative Leaders Ask Gov. Perry to Spare Life of Severely Mentally Ill Man

Scott Panetti

This article was updated at 4:00 p.m. on 12/1.

Over a dozen national leaders of the conservative movement have jointly signed a letter asking Governor Rick Perry to commute the death sentence of Scott Panetti to a life sentence if the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommends it.

In their letter to Governor Perry the conservative leaders wrote, “Mr. Panetti is one of the most seriously mentally ill prisoners on death row in the United States. Rather than serving as a measured response to murder, the execution of Mr. Panetti would only serve to undermine the public’s faith in a fair and moral justice system.”

The conservatives, who include two former state attorneys general, wrote, “It is clear that [Panetti] has been suffering from severe mental illness since long before he committed the offense that landed him on death row. . . . As conservatives, we must be on guard that such an extraordinary government sanction not be used against a person who is mentally incapable of rational thought. It would be immoral for the government to take this man’s life. Should the Board [of Pardons and Paroles] recommend it, we respectfully urge you to reduce Mr. Panetti’s death sentence to life in prison.”

Conservative leaders signing the letter include: Brent Bozell, President, ForAmerica; Ken Cuccinelli, President, Senate Conservatives Fund; Dave Keene, Opinion Editor, The Washington Times; Pat Nolan, Director Center for Criminal Justice Reform, the American Conservative Union Foundation; Richard Viguerie, Chairman,; Ron Robinson, President, Young America’s Foundation; Jim Miller, Husch Blackwell, LLP; Craig Shirley, Reagan Biographer; C. Preston Noell, III, President, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.; Rebecca Hagelin, Columnist, The Washington Times; Floyd Brown, President, Western Center for Journalism; Charles Murray, WH Brady Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; Patrick A. Trueman, Attorney at Law; Mark L. Earley, Sr., Former Attorney General of Virginia and Former President and CEO of Prison Fellowship USA; Morton Blackwell, Chairman, The Weyrich Lunch; James L. Martin, Chairman, 60 Plus Association; Tricia Erickson, President, Angel Pictures and Publicity, President, Crisis Management, Inc.; Maggie Gallagher, Author; Diana L. Banister, President, Shirley & Banister Public Affairs; Mark Fitzgibbons, President of Corporate Affairs, American Target Advertising, Inc.; Gary L. Bauer, President, American Values; Terrence Scanlon, President, Capital Research Center; and Hal Stratton, former Attorney General of New Mexico.

Read the full letter to Governor Perry.

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Mental incapacity

If he was examined and found mentally competent to stand trial for his offense, his sentence should be carried out.

I assume that all his appeals found his trial was according to law.

Why the conservative double standard.

Must be comuted to life

There is not only the problem of his being mentally ill, but there seems to be a doubt as to the validity of his guilt