INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY: Process for Determining Mental Retardation Under Review in Florida and Georgia

By edeleon

On October 21, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will review Hall v. Florida (12-10882), in which the Florida Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of a man whose IQ is just above the state’s standard for determining “mental retardation.” According to the current law, those who have an IQ of 70 or higher cannot be considered intellectually disabled even if there is evidence to the contrary. Freddie Lee Hall’s scores on three IQ tests range from 71 to 80. A judge had previously ruled Hall mentally disabled, but the ruling took place before the state passed a law setting the IQ limit. In Georgia, a House committee will be holding an out-of-session meeting to reconsider the state’s current law for determining whether a death row inmate has mental retardation. Under the current law, death row inmates are required to prove intellectual disability beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the strictest burden of proof in the nation. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court in Atkins v. Virginia banned the execution of inmates with mental retardation, but left each state to decide how to determine mental retardation. Georgia’s law is the strictest in the United States, and Florida is one of nine states with strict IQ limits.

(“Ga. to review tough death penalty provision,” Associated Press, October 19, 2013; M. Sherman, “High Court to Look at Death Row Inmate With Low IQ,” Associated Press, October 21, 2013). See Intellectual Disability and U.S. Supreme Court.

Via: INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY: Process for Determining Mental Retardation Under Review in Florida and Georgia