The ACLU of Virginia has asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe to grant a clemency request from death row inmate Ricky Javon Gray.
In a letter to the governor today, ACLU-VA Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga referred to the civil rights organization’s blanket opposition to the death penalty, calling it “demonstrably ineffective and cruel and unusual punishment that should not be imposed in a just society, particularly where the penalty is applied arbitrarily and the procedure itself is inhumane.” She suggested Gray’s sentence be commuted to life in prison.
Gray is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Jan. 18. In the letter, Gastañaga also criticized the method of execution being deployed by the state, which intends to use drugs developed in secret, and at great expense, that have been used in botched executions in other states.
“No matter the circumstances, the method of execution, or the rarity of the death penalty being carried out, however, executions are inhumane, torture and cruel and unusual punishment that should not be exacted by a moral government,” the letter states. “The acts of the individual that placed them on death row do not erase that and should not be used to condone state-conducted killing with the false promise of deterrence, justice or even retribution.”