A scary harbinger: The Supreme Court said Monday that death row inmates do not automatically have a right to a jury trial to determine whether they are mentally retarded and therefore ineligible for execution.
Awesome Public Defender
Robert Hooker of Pima County
Three years ago, the court barred executions of the mentally retarded, on grounds that they violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Justices left it up to states to determine whether inmates are retarded.
Pima County Public Defender Robert Hooker said he wasn't surprised by the decision, but was disappointed.
The Supreme Court has now decided to leave the decision of who is mentally retarded in the same hands as those who once determined it was OK to execute the mentally retarded - judges, Hooker said.
"This means a lot more mentally retarded people are going to be killed,"