What Determines an Intellectual Disability in Death Penalty Cases?
Date:  10-23-2013

“Bright-line cutoff” of an IQ of 70 or below has many concerned
Americans have abolished the death penalty for juveniles because scientific evidence shows that a human brain is not fully developed until age 25. Click here to go to website. That fact, however, did not stop juries from sentencing those under the age of 18 to death, and states from carrying out the executions until the U.S. Supreme Court abolished the death penalty for juveniles. Click here to go to website.

But what if someone has an intellectual disability that renders them child-like in their reasoning capacities, and they are over the age of 18? Can that person be sentenced to death? In some states they can be ,if tests results show they have an IQ over 70.

Freddie Hall has an IQ of 71 and is facing execution. IQ tests can fluctuate a few points and the reality that someone who has a severe intellectual disability can be executed based on the bright-line cut-off of 70 has many concerned. Now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Hall’s case and make a decision that would clarify the legal standard for intellectual disability.

Source: New York Times

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