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1990 Bill Clinton Signed Order of Execution
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $2,320.00
Few issues have divided the country as much as the political debate regarding the death penalty in America. Offered here is a document of unparalleled significance relating to this charged issue: a 1990 order authorizing execution, signed by future president Bill Clinton in his official capacity as Governor of Arkansas. There is no more serious or weighty responsibility for a Governor than signing such an order. This signed order takes on all the greater significance when analyzed in the context of Clinton's future impact on America's approach to the death penalty. As president, in 1996 Clinton approved the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). This was the first bill ever to place limits on the right to habeas corpus, giving prisoners just one year to file a habeas corpus writ upon exhaustion of their final state appeals. The purpose and effect of this limitation was to speed up the death penalty process, which Clinton backed without reserve. Clinton's support of the death penalty, and his impact on future legislation relating to it, give this signed death warrant an extraordinary historical significance. The actual case prompting the order, which involved a convicted murderer who had experienced a very convincing religious conversion, was extremely controversial. William Frank Parker had many supporters. He became a cause celebre for many who believed in his psychological transformation, and who fought to save him from the death penalty. Walker's case attracted the attention of Buddhists worldwide, including the support of the Dalai Lama himself. His case was profiled in the New York Times and papers all over the world. This official 1990 State of Arkansas Proclamation authorizing the use of the death penalty, signed by then Governor Bill Clinton, ultimately sealed his fate. This document represents Bill Clinton's most difficult and possibly most controversial act as Governor of Arkansas. Printed on heavy stock (8.5 x 14 inches), the typed order reads in part: "...Whereas, William Frank Parker, SK-899 was duly presented under/proper proceedings to the Circuit Court of Benton County, Arkansas on a charge of Capital Murder and after being tried...his sentence and punishment fixed at death...Now, therefore, I, Bill Clinton...do hereby set the fifth of December, 1990....by executing William Frank Parker at the place and in the manner prescribed by law...." The document is dated November 8, 1990, affixed with the seal of the State of Arkansas. It is signed in black ballpoint above the line reading "Governor," "Bill Clinton" ("10"). William Frank Parker was convicted in 1984 of the brutal double murder of his in-laws. During his stay in prison he converted to Buddhism and was befriended by Buddhist Reverend Kobutsu Malone. Upon his execution Parker, who took the Buddhist name Jusan Fudo Sifu, bequeathed all his papers to Rev. Malone. Each prisoner who is executed in Arkansas is provided with an original order of execution signed by the Governer. This order was among the few personal effects bequeathed to Rev. Malone. Accompanying this lot is a detailed letter of provenance from Rev. Malone, along with copies of newspaper articles and legal documents that pertain to Parker, his case, and his execution. In his letter, Rev. Malone notes that "William Frank Parker would support his decision to sell this death warrant - in support of life, in furthering the work to abolish all forms of judicial vengeance." The order has a single horizontal crease across the middle and is otherwise in Near Mint condition. Two years after the signing of this writ of execution, William Jefferson Clinton was elected 42nd President of the United States. LOA from James Spence, Steve Grad & John Reznikoff/PSA DNA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate $4,000/$8,000. SOLD FOR $2,320.00
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