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February 5, 2024

"Repairing the 'Sea of Disorganized' Procedures for Determining Competency for Execution"

The title of this post is the title of this new article now available via SSRN and authored by Melanie Kalmanson and Bridget Maloney. Here is its abstract:

When the government executes a person with severe mental illness, it is questionable whether the execution even serves any true retributive purpose due to the prisoner’s inability to rationally understand the reasoning for the execution.  Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Ford v. Wainwright, scholars and courts have debated the appropriate process for determining a prisoner’s competency for execution — and what that even means.

Despite decades of discourse, recent cases — most significantly recent executions of persons who suffered from severe mental illness — illustrate that the processes used across the country for determining competency for execution are insufficient.  This article presents a multifaceted solution to how states can improve their processes for reviewing whether prisoners are competent for execution in an effort to ensure each execution comports with the requirements of the Eighth Amendment, as established in Ford and its progeny.  Practically, the article proposes recommendations for the process courts use to determine whether a prisoner is incompetent for execution — including imposing a mandatory stay to allow adequate time for the determination and updating the standard of incompetency.  Also, for the first time, this article contemplates regulating certain aspects of experts’ evaluations of prisoners who claim incompetency for execution — including requiring certain diagnostic imaging and standardizing the format of expert evaluations.

February 5, 2024 at 08:52 PM | Permalink


Another poorly disguised attempt to abolish the DP on the installment plan.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 6, 2024 1:54:44 AM

The default rule should be to fry him.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 6, 2024 9:43:24 AM


This deserves some attention.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 6, 2024 2:00:41 PM

federalist --

Bragg is a gift to those of us who think the priorities of "progressive prosecutors" are upside down.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 6, 2024 4:45:59 PM

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