The Court Giveth and the Court Taketh Away

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,"


Jack Benway said...

A jury trial is required to sentence anyone to death, retarded or not. They've had their jury trial, they were found guilty, and a jury of their peers sentenced them to death. Now you want another jury to evaluate whether they are retarded?

Are you retarded?

Or do you mean to argue that a retarded person requires a jury of retards to meet the requirement of being peers?

Anonymous said...

Why isnt it okay to execute the retarded? And how retarded is too retarded before its not okay to execute? Why do I get the feeling you would rather get rid of that nuissance of judges alltogether. That way you can persuade a jury of retards to agree with you. Makes life easier, hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

Um, Gosh Ben.
You know something--juries find facts. That's what they do, and retardation is a question of fact, or did the fact law distincton escape you?