His clemency hearing was held before the Montana Board of
Pardons May 2, 2012
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer will review the board's
and make the final decision on Ronald Smith's
application for clemency. An announcement on
his decision is expected the week of May 21, 2012. Timeline of Events in
the Ronald Smith case
November 1, 2007: Public
Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced the reversal of
Canada's long standing policy by the Conservative Government
of Stephen Harper
to no longer advocate for clemency on behalf of Canadian's
sentenced to death.
March 2008: The American Civil
Liberties Union launches a legal challenge against
Montana's lethal injection protocol, arguing it a form of
cruel and unusual punishment.
April 8, 2009: Justice Robert Barnes of the Federal Court of Canada
condemned Prime Minister
Stephen Harper and other senior officials for arbitrarily
stitching together a revamped stand on
clemency that reversed long-standing policy, effectively
abandoning Mr. Smith to be executed. Judge Barnes said in his ruling that
fundamental fairness dictates that Canada move quickly
to exert its diplomatic influence to stave off Mr. Smith's
impending execution and pave the
way for his possible transfer to a prison in Canada
(as we did before the Conservatives).
October 29, 2010:
District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock issued an injunction
against any lethal injections being carried out in the
November 1, 2011: An
injunction delays Smith's date for execution
being set until the ACLU legal challenge is heard. November 3, 2011: District court Judge John Larson
overrules the injunction,
setting Smith's date of execution for Jan. 31, 2011. December 14, 2011: Montana
Supreme Court upholds the stay
pending the outcome of the ACLU's legal challenge
December 5, 2011:
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, sends a brief letter
Montana officials stating Canada wants
Smith's death sentence commuted,
but adding the government "does not sympathize with
violent crime," and the
request "should not be construed as reflecting a judgment
on Smith's conduct."
April 2, 2012:
A four-page preliminary report to parole board members is
to Smith's lawyers Don Vernay and Greg Jackson
revealing the predetermined conclusion that, "Smith does not meet any of the commutation
criteria" under Montana's clemency protocols.
Citizen April 6,2012
April 12, 2012:
The Canadian government announces Canada “will be sending
to Smith’s hearing, but that the Department of Foreign
Affairs and International Trade
has made it clear the government will not make any special
submissions to the
parole panel to support the clemency effort. “Ultimately, decisions regarding Mr. Smith’s case
lie with the relevant U.S. authorities,” said Foreign Affairs spokesperson Aliya Mawani.
“Mr. Smith pleaded guilty and was subsequently convicted of murdering two people.
These were admitted crimes.”
Post April 12, 2012
May 2, 2012:
Ronald Smith's clemency hearing before the Montana parole
Marie-Eve Lamy, from the Canadian Consulate General in
Denver, was added as
a last-minute witness for Smith’s defense team and
scheduled to read a statement
on behalf of the Harper government. The morning of
the clemency hearing she advised
Smith's legal team "I just heard from
headquarters that they don’t want me to read this."
and left the hearing without speaking. Smith's defense
team decry this defiance as
an "incomprehensible" act of "treachery" by Canadian
Star May 3, 2012 Ronald
Smith's response to the CCADP's concerns November 13, 2007
Dear Mr. Parkinson and Ms. Lamourie, Greg Jackson forwarded your
letter on to me and it seemed most necessary that I respond
I have to admit that your letter caught me with almost as much
surprise as the Canadian governments actions did.
I had heard that their reversal of policy had sparked a fierce
debate over the death penalty
but this is considerably more than what I had been told.
While I recognize that this isn't a personal endorsement of
me, it is nice,
as the only Canadian in the world with a death sentence, to
see the outpouring of support.
With regard to the most recent events, to say I was
extremely disappointed would be an understatement.
The original idea of clemency was brought to my attention by
consular officials over 2 years ago.
I was told that the Governor himself had brought up my name
and circumstances and that
Canadian officials viewed it as an opportunity
to approach him with the clemency question. They came to me to
ask my permission to do so,
which I of course agreed to.
Then, three weeks ago, the Governor was on the news talking
about how he had been approached about
clemency and a transfer home, and that he would be discussing
it with officials during a trip to Edmonton.
A week later Stockwell Day made the announcment that the
Canadian government had reversed its
stance regarding death sentenced Canadians.
To dislike or even loathe me is one thing, but to do a 180 on
long standing policy is something else.
Since I am the only Canadian in the world with a death
its very difficult not to construe this as a personal attack.
An honest evaluation leaves no doubt that it's purely personal
agenda on behalf of Day and Harper,
I just happen to be a convenient piece of meat to throw to the
dogs and spark the debate back home.
They keep an eye on the news and polls and which ever way
public opinion goes, that's they way they go.
Hopefully the events taking place will be the start needed to
bring Canada back to the 21st century
and not straggling along behind the US in the 19th.
I wish you all the very best and an ap pro po slogan
directly out of my time, Power To The People !
Sincerely, Ron Smith
The CCADP is encouraging
to send Ron your letters of support:
Montana State Prison 700 Conley Lake Road Deer Lodge, Montana 59722-9707 USA
"I want to let people know that the man I know is
not the man that everybody thinks he is. I would like him to
look at my Dad and see how much he's changed and how
remorseful. I go to him for
everything - good and bad. He's the one I go to for
- (Ronald's daughter)
Contact The Governor:
Governor Brian D. Schweitzer Office of the
Governor Montana State
Capitol Bldg. P.O. Box 200801 Helena, MT
59620-0801 Phone: (406)
444-3111 Fax: (406)
The CCADP has offered
free webspace to over 1000 Death Row Prisoners Since 1998 "The Eyes Of The World
Are Watching Now" Last updated May 7, 2012 Canadian
Coalition Against the Death Penalty This page is maintained and updated by Dave
Parkinson and Tracy Lamourie