Supreme Court hears debate on executing mentally disabled


The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments this week over how much leeway states have in determining which inmates are fit for the death penalty.

The case in question involves Freddie Lee Hall, a Florida death row inmate convicted of murder, but is raising questions about the state's policy on executing people with mental disabilities. (Via USA Today)

In 2002, the Supreme Court barred states from using the death penalty on the mentally disabled, but allowed the states to determine their own standards for mental disability. (Via CNN)

Florida does not execute inmates who score below 70 on an IQ test. The state says, although he has scored as low as 60, most of Hall's scores have come in the low 70s. So, despite the opinions of psychologists who have examined Hall and deemed him mentally disabled, Florida plans to move ahead with his execution.

Florida is one of four states that use a strict IQ standard without allowing for a margin of error. Writing forThe Atlantic, Andrew Cohen says, "These states aren't just outliers in constitutional law—they are outliers in science and medicine, too" for ignoring the opinions of experts and psychologists.

The overall number of executions nationwide each year has steadily dropped in recent years. Last year there were 39. Thirty-two states still use the death penalty. Between 1984 and 2001, states executed 44 people with mental disabilities. (Via Wikimedia Commons / California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

The U.S. is one of the last few Western nations with the death penalty. Many European countries, Russia, Canada and Mexico have all banned prisoner executions.
 

More on Newsy



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Disney handing out $1,000 bonuses to 125,000 US employees
Disney handing out $1,000 bonuses to 125,000 US employees

The Walt Disney Company is handing out $1,000 bonuses to all U.S. employees and creating a new $50 million education fund for its hourly workers, according to a statement released Tuesday. >> Read more trending news  The Burbank, Calif.-based entertainment giant announced all U.S.-based hourly and part-time employees with the company...
Public treating New Carlisle silo site like tourist attraction
Public treating New Carlisle silo site like tourist attraction

Safety is a key concern as crews work to clean up 10,000 tons of corn that spilled onto Ohio 571 from a New Carlisle grain silo after it collapsed earlier this week. “We’ve had problems with people getting too close taking pictures. People wanting to get a jar of the corn,” New Carlisle Fire Chief Steve Trusty said Tuesday. RELATED...
ECOT appeals in fight to stay open; emails show state fight
ECOT appeals in fight to stay open; emails show state fight

The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow on Tuesday announced it is appealing the decision of its sponsor, the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West, to close the embattled online school. ECOT officials called it “a final attempt to keep the doors open through June,” saying in a press release that the school’s contract provides...
12 camels booted from beauty contest at Middle East festival over Botox use
12 camels booted from beauty contest at Middle East festival over Botox use

Camels were once prized across the Middle East for transportation, for use in war, for food and even as companions, as guides and partners. Now they’re prized for a whole different set of reasons, including their beauty and racing abilities, and are celebrated at annual camel festivals across the region. >> Read more trending news ...
Meryl Streep, Jordan Peele, Guillermo del Toro and more react to 2018 Oscar nominations
Meryl Streep, Jordan Peele, Guillermo del Toro and more react to 2018 Oscar nominations

Tiffany Haddish and Andy Serkis were at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles Tuesday to announce the nominees for the 90th Academy Awards. “The Shape of Water,” “Get Out,” “Dunkirk” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” were among the films receiving multiple nominations...
More Stories