Stupid is What Stupid Does: Loophole for Death Row Inmates

| June 1, 2014 | 0 Comments
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Supreme Court ruled this week that states can no longer rely on a fixed I.Q. score cutoff to decide intellectual competency.  What this means is that states can no longer place a mentally challenged individual on death row just because they score over the cutoff to be considered intellectually disabled. The ruling affects approximately 30 current death row inmates, but what it also does is help to decrease the number of individuals who will have to spend their last days on death row. Fewer defendants are now less likely to end up on death row because their declarations of intellectual disability will be not be easily thrown out by the courts.

Currently the black and Hispanic communities make up the majority of the death row community with approximately 56% of the total death row population.  This number is definitely an over-representation of the black community as African-Americans only make up 13.1% of the total U.S. population.  This is a huge disparity for African-Americans.  At the end of the day, this ruling saves lives and lessens the numbers of individuals who will have to sit on death row.  However, this ruling also adds to the gray area.  Should a person who is intellectually disabled not be punished for their crimes?  

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Freddie Hall was convicted of murder and sent to death row, and his intellectual disabilities were brought up in court.

While the powers that be may consider this a win for the naysayers, the court systems (mainly in the south) will continue to support capital punishment and the African-American community will continue to lose.  The United States government needs to make change to the execution penalty, but what is not broken in there eyes will not be fixed.

With the recent ruling, according to the New York Times, these states must consider a broader range of I.Q. scores now that take into account error rates, along with real-life examples of how a defendant functioned in society, including a person’s grades, his ability to dress and groom himself, do chores, follow instructions, hold certain kinds of jobs, make change, and live independently.

Think about these next two questions and let them sink in. “If Forrest Gump violently murdered somebody, should he be executed?” “If Forrest Gump was black and violently murdered somebody would he be executed?

Take some time and let us know what you think.

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