Entries tagged with “Atkins v. Virginia

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

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United States Supreme Court

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Oct 07, 2022

Atkins at 20: Assessing the Purported Ban on Executing Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

In its land­mark deci­sion in Atkins v. Virginia in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the use of the death penal­ty against indi­vid­u­als with intel­lec­tu­al dis­abil­i­ty con­sti­tut­ed cru­el and unusu­al pun­ish­ment in vio­la­tion of the Eighth Amendment. Twenty years lat­er, how­ev­er, there is not just the risk, but the cer­tain­ty” that states con­tin­ue to sen­tence intel­lec­tu­al­ly dis­abled defen­dants to death, three legal schol­ars argue, and the fed­er­al courts are let­ting them get away with it.

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

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Race

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Feb 16, 2018

Is Racially Biased Testimony Wrongly Subjecting Intellectually Disabled Defendants to the Death Penalty?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2002 deci­sion in Atkins v. Virginia cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly bars states from exe­cut­ing any per­son who has Intellectual Disability. (Daryl Atkins is pic­tured.) However, as report­ed in recent sto­ries in Pacific Standard Magazine and the news­pa­per, The Atlanta Black Star, some states have attempt­ed to cir­cum­vent the Atkins rul­ing by using social stereo­types and race as grounds to argue that defen­dants of col­or are not intel­lec­tu­al­ly disabled.

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Mar 02, 2023

MENTAL ILLNESS: Excluding Those with Severe Mental Illness from the Death Penalty — A Menu of Legislative Options

In a forth­com­ing arti­cle in the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice regard­ing lim­i­ta­tions on the death penal­ty for those with dimin­ished respon­si­bil­i­ty, Richard Bonnie sum­ma­rizes the rea­sons why an exclu­sion for severe men­tal ill­ness in cap­i­tal cas­es is need­ed and exam­ines key draft­ing issues that can be expect­ed to arise in state legislatures.

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

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Nov 15, 2023

Randomness and Prosecutorial Misconduct in Death Penalty Cases Highlighted in South Carolina

A recent arti­cle in the Post and Courier details research into the rea­sons why 18 death sen­tences have been over­turned in South Carolina, find­ing one of the main rea­sons to be pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct. Research found that 11 of the 18 pris­on­ers received new sen­tences because of pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct, while the oth­er sev­en received new sen­tences after the deci­sion in Atkins v. Virginia because they had intel­lec­tu­al disability.

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

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Mental Illness

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Apr 01, 2024

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Removes Henderson County Man from Death Row Citing Intellectual Disability

On March 27, 2024, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) resen­tenced death row pris­on­er Randall Mays to life in prison with­out the pos­si­bil­i­ty of parole after an expert for the state con­ced­ed that the evi­dence pre­sent­ed by Mr. Mays’ attor­neys indi­cates he is intel­lec­tu­al­ly dis­abled, and thus inel­i­gi­ble for the death penal­ty. Originally sen­tenced to death in 2008 for the mur­der of two Henderson County, Texas, sheriff’s deputies, Mr. Mays’ attor­neys have long argued that he should be exempt from fac­ing exe­cu­tion because of his dis­abil­i­ty. The evi­dence of…