Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Texas Executes Mentally Retarded Man

Texas has the distinction of being the second largest state in the United States by land mass.  Today's it has also achieved the distinction of being the only state in the United States to execute mentally retarded citizens. The case involves 54 year old Marvin Wilson who was executed in Texas last night as a result of a 1994 murder conviction.  Wilson had been convicted of murdering a drug informant in 1992.  In 2002 the United States Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to execute mentally retarded inmates because it violated the Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.  But the 2002 Supreme Court ruling gave states discretion in deciding who they consider to be mentally retarded.  Texas, an an effort to circumvent the Supreme Court's prohibition against executing mentally retarded inmates adopted a ridiculous standard to find that Marvin Wilson qualified for an execution.  Wilson's IQ had been measured at 61. Anything below 70 is considered to be mentally retarded.  Texas argued that Wilson's IQ test had been administered by an inexperienced intern, and that based on his ability to lead, lie and the opinion of his friends and family that he was not mentally retarded and qualified for an execution.  Texas is now the only state to use such a standard to determine if an inmate is mentally retarded.  Before the execution, Wilson's attorneys made a final plea to the Supreme Court but was turned down by Justice Antonin Scalia who is overseeing emergency appeals from the Court of Appeals covering the State of Texas.  

Wilson was the seventh inmate executed in Texas this year and the 25th executed in the United States so far this year.

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