Michael Hall was sentenced to death in 2000 in Texas for kidnapping and murder. At the time of his trial, his IQ was measured at 67. Generally, a person with intellectual disability is defined as someone with an IQ of 70 or lower, along with limitations in adaptive skills. In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled in Atkins v. Virginia that executing someone who has an intellectual disability (mental retardation) constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, but the high court left it to each state to define and enforce the prohibition. State and federal judges in Texas have ruled that, even though Hall is mentally slow, he does not demonstrate an intellectual disability sufficient to be exempted from capital punishment in Texas. Lawyers for Hall petitioned the high court to examine whether Texas has adopted adequate procedures to determine whether someone has an intellectual disability and whether those procedures were followed in Hall’s case in line with constitutional safeguards. The Supreme Court has declined to take up Hall’s appeal.

(W. Richey, “Refused by Supreme Court: Is death row inmate mentally retarded?,” Christian Science Monitor, October 20, 2010). See also Intellectual Disability and U.S. Supreme Court.