ABA Urges Stay of Execution for Severely Mentally Ill Florida Inmate John Ferguson

CHICAGO, Oct. 23, 2012 – As the state of Florida prepares to execute John Ferguson, a man diagnosed as severely mentally ill for more than 40 years, at 6 p.m. EDT today, the _ filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today urging a stay of execution until there is an opportunity for full and adequate review of his constitutional claims.

In the brief, the ABA notes that although it takes no position on the death penalty itself, the association “has a special role in safeguarding the fairness and integrity of the criminal justice system” as the world’s largest organization of lawyers.

Earlier today, ABA President Laurel Bellows issued a statement urging a stay.”To do otherwise would be to risk a terrible miscarriage of justice — one that can never be undone,” she said.

The amicus brief is available online here.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

Please click here for a biography and photo of Laurel G. Bellows, president of the _.