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January 27, 2010

Fourth Circuit panels spliting over Atkins claims from Virginia

The Fourth Circuit has a pair of lengthy rulings today involving two different panels providing two different discussions of two Virginia death row defendants' claims that the Supreme Court's Atkins ruling precludes their executions: Though the legal issues in these cases are similar, perhaps the most notable similarity is the fact that the only member of both panels, Judge Gregory, wrote a separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part in both cases.

January 27, 2010 at 05:45 PM | Permalink


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The Court misunderstood the modern concept of mental retardation, as some number on an IQ test. First, that number has great variability over time in the same individual, and between individuals with the same function levels. It has great variability between testers. So reliance on a single number at a point in time, is not valid.

A more modern view is to assess the ability to function. So Atkins was in the drug business since childhood in a tough neighborhood. He functioned at a higher level than did the Justices when they were nine.

There is an educational input into the IQ. So the average Japanese IQ increased since WWII, a period too short for genetic evolution. They have better schools. If one is too busy to attend school, running a business and living that Roman Orgy lifestyle every day, the IQ will be underestimated. Atkins has been hanging out with a lot of lawyers. His IQ has increased as a result, and he is now death penalty qualified, were he to be retested. Atkins has discovered the best remedial program for low IQ's, hanging out with lawyers. We should move all special ed classes to lawyers' offices. Prior to his improvement, he orchestrated a trap, and gunned down a drug dealer rival. Again, how many of the Justices could do that? Atkins has better planning and social skills than the Court does.

If disabled people want to be treated equally, then proper responsibility is part of the package. Exemptions undermine this movement toward equality.

Judicial review should move away from reviews of legal artifices to the facts. Was the defendant falsely accused? If not, stop picking on the infinite number of ways the case could have been advocated differently. It demeans the law.

And if the Court does not know about a technical subject, it is allowed to pick up a phone and to ask a neutral expert somewhere. Right now, law is being manufactured, for no good reason, based on a misunderstanding of a technical subject.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 28, 2010 6:41:52 AM

"Right now, law is being manufactured, for no good reason, based on a misunderstanding of a technical subject."

Oh, I don't think it's a misunderstanding.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 28, 2010 12:32:49 PM

Daniel: Your comment appreciated on the effect of hanging out with lawyers on Atkins' IQ. This is the greatest educational discovery since the slate board and chalk, no? The best way to increase the IQ of people with mental retardation is to have them spend time with lawyers. Lawyers can redeem themselves for the damage and evil they have done to us by each firm's adopting a class of special ed students to stay in their law firms.

The dumbass leads the dumbass back from the brink of oblivion of cognitive failure. It goes without saying, I use the lawyer term of art, dumbass, only in the nicest way, here.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 28, 2010 9:38:03 PM

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