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January 18, 2008

Atkins (yes, of Atkins fame) gets off of death row

The Washington Post has this article providing a notable "where are they now" update on the legal status of the defendant whose case before the Supreme Court led to the categorical exclusion of those with mental retardation from being subject to the death penalty. Here are the details:

More than five years after his case made legal history with a U.S. Supreme Court ban on executions of the mentally retarded, Daryl Atkins was spared his own long-held place on Virginia's death row when a judge commuted his sentence to life in prison Thursday.

The reprieve came for reasons that few would have guessed during the ever twisting, nearly 12-year course of the case, which had focused largely on Atkins's mental limitations.  Instead, it came because of a Hampton lawyer's allegation of evidence suppression by prosecutors as they prepared for Atkins's murder trial in 1998. "The court finds that had he [Atkins's attorney] been given the evidence, the outcome might have been different," Judge Prentis Smiley Jr. of York County-Poquoson Circuit Court said after ruling that prosecutors had committed a violation by not fully disclosing the evidence.

January 18, 2008 at 04:07 PM | Permalink


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More justice from those honorable, honest prosecutors. Not giving us the statement we want? We'll just turn off the tape, get you to say some stuff, then not tell anyone about it. They should be disbarred, at a minimum. Is there a federal obstruction of justice charge here? There should be.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 20, 2008 10:44:29 AM

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