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April 18, 2007

The oral argument in Panetti

A quick scan of this transcript of today's U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in Panetti v. Quarterman, No. 06-6407, confirms my instinct that the case could be of great symbolic importance, but it unlikely to have broad practical significance.  But, with a focus on both the symbolic and practical realities of the death penalty, I cannot help but spotlight one of the final points stressed by Texas' Solicitor General at oral argument:

In our prisons there are unfortunately a great many people suffering from some degree of mental illness.... [An extreme] sort of delusion unfortunately is not uncommon on death row and it is not uncommon in prisons for paranoia -- the testimony of one of Panetti's experts, Doctor Conroy said, quote, "The major portion of our population in our in-patient units are diagnosed with some form of schizophrenia."

Some recent posts on Panetti:

April 18, 2007 at 06:30 PM | Permalink


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