March 3, 2014 7:43 AM Subscribe
posted by roomthreeseventeen (136 comments total)
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Freddie Lee Hall, as a child, had been classified as "mentally retarded"; he is illiterate, cannot cook for himself, bathe independently, clean his clothes, and is unable to handle his own finances. Halll
was sentenced to death for murdering Karol Hurst, a 21-year-old pregnant woman who was abducted leaving a Leesburg, Fla., grocery store in 1978. His guilt is not at issue; what is at issue, before the Supreme Court this morning
, is whether the Florida Supreme Court's definition of mental retardation (having an IQ of 70 or less) was correctly applied to Hall, who has tested at an IQ of 71.
The precedent case here is Atkins v. Virginia,
, where the Court held that executions of mentally retarded criminals are "cruel and unusual punishments" prohibited by the Eighth Amendment.
Forty-four people with mental retardation were executed from 1984 to 2001. Since the Supreme Court’s 2002 ruling, several hundred prisoners on death row have filed mental retardation claims, or about 7% of all cases.
Twenty-eight percent of those sentences have been reduced as a result of Atkins.