Mother Jones’ Stephanie Mencimer wrote an article on the ongoing Scott Panetti case and the conservative involvement to ask Governor Perry to grant Panetti clemency. Mecimer stated,
Trial transcripts, medical records, and expert witness testimony have documented that Panetti suffers from severe schizophrenia. He believes Texas is going to execute him to stop him from preaching the gospel—not because he shaved his head, donned camo fatigues, and shot and killed his in-laws in 1992.
Mencimer highlighted the many notable conservatives increasingly asking the state of Texas to not execute a mentally ill man. She said,
In addition to Paul, this group includes Jay Sekulow, an evangelical lawyer famous for pressing religious liberties cases on behalf of social conservatives.
Paul’s involvement in the case is unusual. Last year, he publicly endorsed a new advocacy group, Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, saying, “I believe that support for the death penalty is inconsistent with libertarianism and traditional conservatism.” This was the result of a years-long evolution. In 2007, Paul noted, “There was a time I simply stated that I supported the death penalty. Now my views are not so clearly defined…After years spent in Washington, I have become more aware than ever of the government’s ineptness and the likelihood of its making mistakes. I no longer trust the U.S. government to invoke and carry out a death sentence under any conditions.” But Paul at that time didn’t believe that the federal government should interfere with state executions.
She quoted CCATDP’s Heather Beaudoin,
“This is the largest outpouring of support on a death penalty case we’ve seen from evangelicals, and you can see why, given the ridiculous nature of this case,” Beaudoin says. “A lot of folks who signed this [clemency] letter might have given pause about signing on to a letter opposing the death penalty generally, but they think we have no business executing Scott Panetti.” She adds, “As Christians, we’re called protect the most vulnerable. And there’s just no question that Scott Panetti is in that number as someone who’s suffered from severe mental illness. We all want to keep society safe, but I’m thankful there are other ways to do that than executing people.”