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July 25, 2005

Will Atkins get the benefit of Atkins?

Earlier this year, the New York Times ran this article providing a remarkable account of how and why Daryl Atkins — who was the defendant at the center of the Supreme Court's ruling in Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), that the Eighth Amendment prohibits executing mentally retarded offenders — may now be scoring high enough on IQ tests to permit his execution to go forward.  Thanks to Howard at How Appealing, this post provides a collection of more recent articles discussing the special jury trial which started this week with the sole purpose of deciding whether or not Daryl Atkins is mentally retarded and thus constitutionally exempt from the death penalty.

This lengthy article from the Washington Post provides a thoughtful account of Daryl Atkins' life and crime, as well as his long legal saga and current legal realities.  Especially interesting is not only the article's account of the evidence each side now will present to the jury to support or dispute Atkins' claim of mental retardation, but also the basic fact that to spare Atkins' life the "defense must prove retardation 'by a preponderance of the evidence.'"

July 25, 2005 at 09:22 PM | Permalink


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