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Appeals Courts Review Death Row Cases


— February 15, 2004

In the year and a half since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled mentally retarded inmates cannot be executed, more than 40 death row cases were delayed or sent back for review in Texas leaving appellate courts in a quandary.

Death penalty supporters wonder if inmates are trying to delay justice by jamming the courts with new claims of mental retardation. Meanwhile, critics of the state’s capital punishment system say the numbers point to dozens of people who may be ineligible for execution.

Both sides agree, however, that the state Legislature should change Texas law to decide mental retardation earlier in death row cases, reducing the burden on federal and state appeals courts.

Details here from the AP.


In the year and a half since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled mentally retarded inmates cannot be executed, more than 40 death row cases were delayed or sent back for review in Texas leaving appellate courts in a quandary.

Death penalty supporters wonder if inmates are trying to delay justice by jamming the courts with new claims of mental retardation. Meanwhile, critics of the state’s capital punishment system say the numbers point to dozens of people who may be ineligible for execution.

Both sides agree, however, that the state Legislature should change Texas law to decide mental retardation earlier in death row cases, reducing the burden on federal and state appeals courts.

Details here from the AP.

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