Update: the death penalty for the mentally disabled

US Supreme Court - Lady JusticeIn Books, Crooks & Counselors, I wrote about the Supreme Court’s 2002 decision, Atkins v. Virginia, holding that execution of the mentally disabled violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, as 18 states had already decided. Atkins did not establish standards for sentencing judges to apply in determining mental disability, leaving that to the states.

The Supreme Court has now accepted for review Hall v. Florida. Florida defines mental disability as an IQ of 70 or less; the defendant, Freddie Lee Hall, scored just above that threshold. More from the SCOTUS blog.

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