Stay In Hill Execution

Yesterday, I wrote about the pending execution of Warren Hill, who Georgia was on the verge of executing despite the fact that he had an IQ of 70. In another example of the glories of federalism, the Court’s 2002 Atkins precedent has been rendered virtually meaningless because it has permitted states to set standards for proving mental impairment that are essentially impossible to meet.

30 minutes before he was to be executed, however, the 11th Circuit issued a stay to consider the issue further. I doubt that Hill has a good chance of winning despite the particularly egregious facts of the case (the experts Georgia used have recanted their earlier assertions that Hill was mentally competent), but we’ll see. The Georgia appeals court has also issued a stay to consider the new lethal injection protocol Georgia is using.

15 comments on this post.
  1. c u n d gulag:

    Only a mentally and morally incompetent/impaired nation, would approve of executing people – especially those who are “mentally impaired.”

    But, then, I remember the names I was called less than a decade ago, when I said that the Iraq war was wrong, and that torture was ALWAYS wrong, and that both were immoral, and I think that maybe it’s me who’s “mentally impaired,” because I keep hoping for “the better angles of our nature” to shine through.

    Or, maybe I’m just insane, because… Well, you all know the definition of insanity…

  2. cdernem:

    Was his EQ ever measured?

  3. rea:

    If they stopped executing the mentally impaired, the insane, and children, they’d have no one left they were allowed to execute.

  4. Joe:

    Atkins cited a rule applied in an earlier case (written by Thurgood Marshall) on setting guidelines on insanity. The problem here seems to be the failure of the federal courts to oversee the process since the doctors recanted.

    To be totally honest, they say it is a clear case of “mild retardation.” I’m fine with drawing a strict line (I’m against the death penalty anyway) but – putting aside that he killed someone in prison after already being there for murder – I’m not shocked that this is seen as not a totally egregious case by the federal courts. Experts also disagreed in the Texas case. I would lean toward life here myself but that’s the other side.

    GA also is an outlier — it is the only state that uses such a strict test. So, “virtually meaningless” … tad much.

  5. PSP:

    An IQ (for what questionable value IQ has) of 70 is at worst borderline retarded, but probably low normal, at least to the MSWs I used to work with. It would seem that you would have to apply the absolute broadest interpretation of Atkins for it to apply to this guy.

    Am I missing something other than an admirable desire to use every available tool to fight the death penalty?

  6. Vance Maverick:

    I was going to ask something along these lines as well. Is it even common for people’s IQs to be known? (Mine has never been measured, for example.) The question of competency seems very slippery, and I can’t see how IQ helps.

  7. Decrease Mather:

    Lemiuex and the other LGMers are probably OK with the death penalty for Harvard grads, but they are supporting an argument that would effectively exclude most of the Daily Caller staff from the Chair.

  8. Joe:

    They have experts to determine such things and IQ would seem to me be a factor when determining the level of competency warranting a certain punishment. IQ, e.g., factors in reasoning ability, yes?

  9. c u n d gulag:

    Maybe a good place to start, would be for people not to ELECT “…the mentally impaired, the insane, and children.”

  10. Donald Trump:

    I’m now suspicious that Mark Judge’s body of work is in fact just him laying the groundwork for a mental impairment plea down the line.

  11. DrDick:

    There goes the Republican Party’s hopes for electoral dominance.

  12. Vance Maverick:

    Not sure if the bit about “experts” was sarcasm, but yes, determining his IQ is not really a problem. My real worry is over the meaning of IQ. Is there a measurable “reasoning ability” such that below some crisp cutoff, individuals can’t be considered to understand their actions? (Yadda yadda.) Or is this used as just one factor in making a judgment?

  13. Bill Murray:

    well measuring something we call IQ is fairly easy. The relevance of this IQ to anything but taking tests that measure this IQ is certainly open to question

  14. herr doktor bimler:

    First they came to execute the mentally impaired, and I said nothing, for I was too stupid to see the consequences.

  15. Pestilence:

    not enough right angles, I’m afraid

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