US: A Tale of Three States: Executing the Mentally Disabled
Tue Jul 17, 2012 16:38
07/17/2012 U.S. Death Penalty A Tale of Three States: Executing the Mentally Disabled By Brian Stull, Capital Punishment Project at 3:54pm
Georgia: On Monday, the State of Georgia stands ready to strap Warren Hill to a gurney, place IV lines in his arms, and pump his body with poison until he dies. Warren Hill has an IQ of 70, and is intellectually disabled (mentally retarded). That was the finding of a Georgia trial judge who held a hearing and looked at the relevant evidence – applying United States Supreme Court precedent barring execution of the intellectually disabled under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the court ruled that Hill could not be executed.
But then by a narrow vote of 4-3, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that Hill could be executed, despite the lower court’s finding. The high court did not quibble with the lower court’s finding that Hill is intellectually disabled, but it ruled that Hill had failed to prove his disability beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the standard of proof Georgia created when instructed not to execute the mentally retarded in Aktins v. Virginia. That is the highest burden of proof known in our criminal justice system, reserved in all other cases for the prosecution when it seeks to convict and deprive a person of his liberty and possibly his life. No other state in the country erects such a high burden on a defendant to prevent an unconstitutional execution.
Undaunted by the entreaties of humanitarians such as President Jimmy Carter, un-shamed by editorials decrying Georgia’s backward burden of proof, and unmoved by thepleas of the family members of the victim and the jurors who first sentenced him to death not to execute Hill, the State of Georgia appears ready to move forward with Hill’s execution. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole has unfortunately already denied Hill relief. Now only the Supreme Court can intervene to stop this miscarriage of justice.
Texas: As soon as tomorrow, Texas plans an equal injustice. Keeping pace as theleading execution state in America (more than quadrupling the next highest state, Virginia), Texas will have ready its execution chamber for Yokamon Hearn, despite clear and consistent evidence that he is brain damaged. What’s worse, the jury who sentenced Hearn to die, and could have considered his brain damage as a basis for sparing his life, never learned of this evidence because his trial attorney was incompetent. To top off this farce of a “criminal process,” the appellate attorneys charged with raising the error of the trial attorney’s failures also failed to do that.
The United States Supreme Court, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and Texas Gov. Rick Perry all have the opportunity to stop this miscarriage of justice. Please urge the Board and Governor to do so here (note that the link will take you off the ACLU site).
Ohio: Albeit on a much smaller scale than Texas, Ohio also keeps its execution chamber humming. But now Ohio teaches that punishment can be tempered with mercy, particularly when an intellectually disabled person faces execution. Last week, Gov. John Kasich reviewed the case of John Jeffrey Eley, who had been condemned to die for killing a store clerk in 1987. Gov. Kasich studied the case, learned that Eley was intellectually disabled, and learned that this evidence had never been considered at Eley’s original trial. One week ago today, the governor then did the only just and humane thing: he commuted Eley’s sentence to life in prison without parole.
It’s not too late for Georgia and Texas to learn from Ohio. If they fail to do so, it will only be more evidence of the failed government policy that is the death penalty.
State sets execution for inmate judged mentally disabled . By Bill Rankin The Atlanta Journal-Constitution The state of Georgia has scheduled the execution of Warren Hill, who sits on death row even... more
More calls for death row inmate Warren Hill to be spared By Christopher Seward The Atlanta Journal-Constitution July 7, 2012 The cause of Georgia death row inmate Warren Hill, who faces execution... more
http://www.ajc.com/news/clemency-considered-for-death-1477133.html Friday, July 13, 2012 Clemency considered for death inmate found mentally disabled By Bill Rankin | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ... more
Monday, July 16, 2012 Parole board denies clemency to inmate found mentally disabled By Bill Rankin The Atlanta Journal-Constitution The State Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday denied clemency... more
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EDITORIAL Final Plea for Mercy Published: February 13, 2013 Warren Lee Hill Jr., with an I.Q. of 70, is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday in Georgia. The Supreme Court should stay the execution, as ... more
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Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 State experts change opinions in condemned killer’s case By Bill Rankin Three experts used by the state to prove condemned killer Warren Hill was not mentally disabled — and... more
Georgia prisoner facing execution Tuesday By Matt Smith, CNN February 19, 2013 -- Updated 2126 GMT (0526 HKT) (CNN) -- Warren Lee Hill, whose defenders say he is mentally disabled, is scheduled to... more
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Warren Hill supporters call for late stay of execution for mentally ill prisoner Georgia set to execute Hill, who has been diagnosed with severe learning difficulties, in spite of criticism from... more
Ten reasons why Georgia should not execute Warren Hill Since the Guardian first listed in July the reasons why Hill – who has been classified as mentally disabled – should not be executed, the case... more
Posted: 11:44 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 Warren Hill stay of execution stands The U.S. Supreme Court denied the Georgia attorney general’s request to lift a stay of execution a federal appeals... more
Prisoner on death row appeals to Ga. Supreme Court KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press Updated 04:13 p.m., Friday, July 20, 2012 ATLANTA (AP) — A lawyer for a Georgia prison inmate set to be executed... more
Clemency considered for death inmate found mentally disabled By Bill Rankin The Atlanta Journal-Constitution July 12, 2012 Twenty-four years after Georgia became the first in the nation to ban the... more
Georgia aims to defy Supreme Court by executing mentally disabled prisoner By Ed Pilkington, The Guardian Friday, July 13, 2012 18:00 EDT A death row prisoner in Georgia who has been officially... more
US: A Tale of Three States: Executing the Mentally Disabled Petra.,Tue Jul 17 16:38
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