Entries tagged with “Andre Thomas

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Recent Legislative Activity

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Apr 10, 2023

Editorial: Texas Should Bar the Death Penalty for Severely Mentally Ill Defendants

An edi­to­r­i­al in the Dallas Morning News urges the Texas leg­is­la­ture to pass a bill to ban the death penal­ty for peo­ple with severe men­tal ill­ness, stat­ing, it seems like an obvi­ous deci­sion in a decent soci­ety.” House Bill 727, spon­sored by Rep. Toni Rose (D‑Dallas), passed the Texas House on April 5, 2023, by a vote of 97 – 48 and is pend­ing before the Texas Senate.

Policy Issues

Race

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United States Supreme Court

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Jan 06, 2022

Lawyer in Landmark Interracial Marriage Case Urges Supreme Court to Eliminate Frightening Echo’ of Bigotry in Texas Death Penalty Case

On January 6, 1959, Richard and Mildred Loving were con­vict­ed on felony charges of mis­ce­gena­tion” under Virginias Racial Integrity Act, which crim­i­nal­ized inter­ra­cial mar­riage. The tri­al court sen­tenced them to one year in prison but sus­pend­ed the sen­tence con­di­tioned upon their leav­ing Virginia and not return­ing togeth­er for 25 years. The court wrote:

Facts & Research

Recent Legislative Activity

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Mar 13, 2023

LEGISLATION: High Profile Cases in Texas Spur Legislative Activity on the Death Penalty

Prompted by the high-pro­file cas­es of Melissa Lucio, Andre Thomas, and John Ramirez, bills have been intro­duced in the Texas leg­is­la­ture to help pre­vent mis­car­riages of jus­tice. Representative Joe Moody (pic­tured right) has authored two bills, one that would autho­rize Texas pros­e­cu­tors to can­cel sched­uled exe­cu­tions, and anoth­er to facil­i­tate the use of sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence to lessen a person’s sen­tence. Lucio and Thomas both had exe­cu­tion dates, but were grant­ed tem­po­rary reprieves. Lucio raised claims of inno­cence and Thomas’ attor­neys were chal­leng­ing his men­tal com­pe­ten­cy to be exe­cut­ed. Ramirez was…

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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New Voices

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Mar 17, 2023

MENTAL ILLNESS: Sally Satel op-ed: The Flawed Case for Executing the Mentally Ill”

In an op-ed for the National Review, psy­chi­a­trist Sally Satel writes, No civ­i­lized or law­ful pur­pose is served by exe­cut­ing the severe­ly men­tal­ly ill.” Satel is a senior fel­low at the American Enterprise Institute, and she high­lights the deficits in the cur­rent legal sys­tem that per­mit cap­i­tal sen­tences and exe­cu­tions for those suf­fer­ing from severe men­tal ill­ness. The require­ments to qual­i­fy for the insan­i­ty defense set the bar so high that few men­tal­ly ill defen­dants can meet it,” she writes. There needs to be a mid­dle ground for men­tal­ly ill…

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Race

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Feb 19, 2013

MENTAL ILLNESS: Texas Inmate Gouges Out Eyes, Remains on Death Row

Texas death-row inmate Andre Thomas has been diag­nosed with para­noid schiz­o­phre­nia, and audi­to­ry hal­lu­ci­na­tions drove him to gouge out both of his eyes. Nevertheless, pros­e­cu­tors still believe he should be executed.

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Race

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Feb 11, 2020

Texas Appeals Court Hears Argument that Incompetent Lawyering, Race Bias Infected Death Sentence of Man Who Gouged Out and Ate His Own Eye

Andre Thomas (pic­tured) is a Texas death-row pris­on­er riv­en with schiz­o­phre­nia so severe that, in sep­a­rate inci­dents, he gouged out both of his eyes and ate one of them. The U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral argu­ment on February 5, 2020, about whether his con­vic­tion and death sen­tence should be over­turned because his lawyers failed to present evi­dence that he was incom­pe­tent to be tried, failed to present mit­i­gat­ing evi­dence of Thomas’ exten­sive his­to­ry of men­tal ill­ness, and failed to object to the seat­ing of sev­er­al jurors whose ques­tion­naires exhibited…

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Race

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Nov 29, 2022

Texas Schedules Execution of Mentally Ill Prisoner Who Ate His Eye, After SCOTUS Refuses to Review Evidence of Racial Bias

Texas is plan­ning to exe­cute a seri­ous­ly men­tal­ly ill pris­on­er who has gouged out both of his eyes because of his para­noid schiz­o­phre­nia. On November 7, 2022, the District Court of Grayson County, Texas set an April 5, 2023 exe­cu­tion date for Andre Thomas (pic­tured, left when arrest­ed; cen­ter, after goug­ing out his right eye pri­or to tri­al; right, after goug­ing out and eat­ing his left eye while on death row). Thomas has been described by his attor­neys as one of the most men­tal­ly ill pris­on­ers in Texas history.”

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

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Mental Illness

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Mar 08, 2023

Texas Withdraws Execution Date to Allow for Mental Competency Consideration

A Grayson County, Texas court has with­drawn the April 5, 2023 exe­cu­tion date for Andre Thomas (pic­tured), a seri­ous­ly men­tal­ly ill pris­on­er whose legal team request­ed more time to demon­strate that Thomas is incom­pe­tent to be exe­cut­ed. While incar­cer­at­ed, Thomas gouged out his own eyes and claimed divine direc­tion for his crimes. More than 100 reli­gious lead­ers, along with oth­er experts, had asked Gov. Greg Abbott to halt Thomas’ execution.

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Race

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Oct 18, 2022

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Case of Texas Prisoner Whose Jurors Expressed Racist Views

With three jus­tices dis­sent­ing, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case of Texas death-row pris­on­er Andre Thomas, who was sen­tenced to death by jurors who admit­ted to racial bias. In a case involv­ing an inter­ra­cial mur­der and mar­riage, jurors who opposed inter­ra­cial rela­tion­ships were allowed to serve with­out objec­tion by defense coun­sel. These beliefs were ref­er­enced by the pros­e­cu­tion dur­ing clos­ing argu­ment at the sen­tenc­ing phase, where jurors were tasked to weigh Thomas’ long his­to­ry of severe men­tal ill­ness in decid­ing whether to sen­tence him to death.

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

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Mental Illness

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Feb 20, 2023

Upcoming Executions Raise Concerns about Mental Illness and the Death Penalty

The cas­es of two defen­dants fac­ing immi­nent exe­cu­tion raise con­cerns about the appro­pri­ate­ness of death sen­tences for those with severe men­tal ill­ness or sharply-lim­it­ing men­tal dis­abil­i­ties. Andre Thomas is sched­uled for exe­cu­tion on April 5, 2023 in Texas, despite suf­fer­ing from men­tal ill­ness so acute that he cut out both of his eyes and ate one, claim­ing that it was nec­es­sary to pre­vent the gov­ern­ment from hear­ing his thoughts. Donald Dillbeck is sched­uled for exe­cu­tion in Florida on February 23, even though he is inflict­ed with fetal alco­hol spec­trum dis­or­der accom­pa­nied by dis­abil­i­ties sim­i­lar to those the…