December 27, 2022

Representatives Bush, Cleaver Urge MO Gov. Parson to Halt Execution of Amber McLaughlin


Washington, D.C. (Dec. 27, 2022)—Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-05) sent a letter to Missouri Governor Mike Parson urging him to grant clemency and halt the execution of Amber McLaughlin. Ms. Amber McLaughlin is scheduled to be executed by the state on January 3, 2023. 


The lawmakers’ letter notes Ms. McLaughlin’s traumatic childhood and history of mental illness. It also highlights crucial evidence that was never presented to the jury in the sentencing phase of Ms. McLaughlin’s trial, and the fact that the jury deadlocked in its sentencing decision, leading a judge to unilaterally impose the death penalty.


“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done. The same is true for Ms. McLaughlin,” wrote the lawmakers. “As ordained ministers, we believe in accountability but also the sanctity of life, and do not think these tenets are mutually exclusive. We must therefore make investments in the social and economic well-being of all people. In order to do so, we must first acknowledge the moral depravity of executions. They are not about justice; they are about who has institutional power and who doesn’t. We urge you to correct these injustices using every tool available, including the power to grant clemency.”


A copy of this letter can be found HERE.


Representatives Bush and Cleaver have written similar letters to Governor Parson ahead of the state-sanctioned executions of Kevin Johnson and Ernest Johnson.


Since first coming to Congress, Congresswoman Bush has been a national leader in the push for clemency reform and the need to end the death penalty. In February 2021, the Congresswoman urged President Biden to use his pardon power to correct legacies of injustice in the clemency process, including a call to commute the sentences of all on federal death row. In December 2021, Congresswoman Bush, alongside Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), introduced the Fair and Independent Experts in Clemency (FIX Clemency) Act, historic legislation that works to transform our nation’s broken clemency system and address the growing mass incarceration crisis. She is a proud cosponsor of the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act, which would end the use of the death penalty by the federal government.