QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The decision is clear, and a lot of people’s lives will be saved. Texas was not only wrong; it was dead wrong.”
STORY: "Unacceptable: The Supreme Court just paved the way for Texas to potentially overturn dozens of death sentences," by Taylor Dolven, published on March 29, 2017.
GIST: "Texas death row inmate Bobby Moore has been trying to convince the state that he’s intellectually disabled for 14 years. At the age of 20, he was sentenced to death for shooting and killing an elderly grocery store clerk during a failed robbery. And after years of legal battles, the Supreme Court finally stepped in. In a 5-3 decision Tuesday, the High Court found deep flaws in Texas’ standard for determining intellectual disability in death penalty cases, sending Moore’s case back to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for reassessment. The ruling also opens the door for dozens of other death row inmates in the state to challenge their sentences, according to Jordan Steiker, director of the Capital Punishment Clinic at the University of Texas. “Once you strip away the considerations the Supreme Court said were inappropriate, Moore is eligible for relief,” he said. “The decision is going to require revisiting many criminal court of appeals decisions denying relief for those claims.”.........In 2014, a Texas trial court found that Moore couldn’t be executed because he met the definition of intellectually disabled under the updated American Association of Intellect and Developmental Disability guidelines — not the 2004 standard the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals was using. But the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the trial court’s finding in 2015 and ruled that Moore wasn’t intellectually disabled — and therefore, could be executed. That’s when the Supreme Court stepped in. In its Tuesday decision, the Supreme Court ruled the 2004 standard was invalid, returning Moore’s case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for reconsideration of his intellectual disability. While the justices differ about who should decide the standard for intellectual disability — either scientists or judges and juries — all eight agree that Texas’ standard is unacceptable. But Texas capital defense attorneys and anti–death penalty advocates say the Supreme Court win for Moore is bittersweet. Many of their clients who were found to be intellectually competent under the 2004 standard have already been executed. “Talk to any capital defense attorney in Texas, and they’ll tell you about the ones who got away,” said Kathryn Kase, director of the Capital Trial Project at Texas Defender Services. “My happiness about this is tempered by the fact that it took the Supreme Court 13 years [since Texas created the standard in 2004] to slap Texas’ … decision down. That’s difficult to square.” At least 13 people found competent because of the 2004 standard have been executed, according to a case search by Melissa Hamilton, a visiting legal scholar at the University of Houston. That includes one of Steiker’s clients, Elroy Chester, in 2013, and one of Kase’s clients, Marvin Wilson, in 2012. “The Supreme Court declined to hear a number of cases that were just as compelling as Moore’s that directly called [the standard] into question,” Steiker said. Now that Moore’s case has been decided, stayed death penalty cases across Texas will start to move forward again. “The decision is clear, and a lot of people’s lives will be saved,” Kase said. “Texas was not only wrong; it was dead wrong.”
The entire story can be found at:
See also Intercept story 'Texas can no longer fabricate its own medical standards to justify executions' at the link below: "In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday concluded that current medical standards must be considered when determining whether a defendant facing the death penalty is intellectually disabled and thus barred from execution under the Eighth Amendment. The ruling was a strong rebuke, particularly to the state of Texas, which has long based such determinations on outdated science in concert with a set of subjective — if not simply stereotyping — standards that were largely based on a fictional character."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/