*. At the penalty phase of the trial, the state introduced victim impact evidence and proved two aggravating circumstances: future dangerousness and "vileness of the offense." As a result of the plea, Jones became ineligible to receive the death penalty. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/00-8452.ZO.html, https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/536/304/. 13 (July 1992), John DiPippa, Will Fairchild’s Death Violate the Constitution, or Simply Our Morality?, Arkansas Forum, Sept. 1993, “Some people say that there is nothing wrong with executing a person who is mentally retarded. The Court pronounces the punishment cruel and unusual primarily because 18 States recently have passed laws limiting the death eligibility of certain defendants based on mental retardation alone, despite the fact that the laws of 19 other States besides Virginia continue to leave the question of proper punishment to the individuated consideration of sentencing judges or juries familiar with the particular offender and his or her crime. Poll and survey results reported in Brief for American Association on Mental Retardation et al. L. A. L. Rev. Apr 21, 2000. The goal of retribution is not served by imposing the death penalty on a group of people who have a significantly lesser capacity to understand why they are being executed. 28, 1993, at G3, “Some people feel there is nothing wrong with imposing the death penalty on persons who are mentally retarded depending on the circumstances. 1448, 1468 (1998), “If the convicted person was…mentally retarded, would you favor or oppose the death penalty?”, Peter Hart Research Associates, Inc., Innocence Survey, Q. Instead, Smiley determined the evidence was overwhelming that Atkins had participated in a felony murder and commuted Atkins's sentence to life in prison. Second, none of the 27 polls cited disclose the targeted survey population or the sampling techniques used by those who conducted the research. The evidence introduced at trial showed that at approximately midnight on August 16, 1996, Atkins and William Jones, both armed with semiautomatic weapons, abducted Nesbitt, robbed him, drove him to an automated teller machine, forced him to withdraw additional cash, and then took him to an isolated location where they shot him eight times at close range.
The Virginia Supreme Court subsequently affirmed the sentence based on a prior Supreme Court decision, Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302 (1989). Atkins appealed his death sentence to the United States Supreme Court, claiming it violated the Eighth Amendment. After driving Nesbitt to an ATM and demanding him to withdraw additional cash at gun point, the two shot and killed their victim. The Court heard oral arguments in the case on February 20, 2002. Here, the Court goes beyond these well-established objective indicators of contemporary values. Case Brief for Atkins v. Virginia. Does sentencing a mentally retarded person to death violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment? Congress followed two years later, and the next year Maryland joined these two jurisdictions. In light of the "consistency of direction of change" toward a prohibition on the execution of the mentally retarded, and the relative rarity of such executions in states that still allow it, the Court proclaimed that a "national consensus has developed against it." And because the specifications of punishments are “peculiarly questions of legislative policy,” Gore v. United States, 357 U.S. 386, 393 (1958), our cases have cautioned against using “ ‘the aegis of the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause’ ” to cut off the normal democratic processes, Gregg, supra, at 176 (quoting Powell v. Texas, 392 U.S. 514, 533 (1968) (plurality opinion)). Do you think it IS or IS NOT all right to impose the death penalty on a mentally retarded person?”, Charlotte Observer-WMTV News Poll (Sept. 2000), Diane Suchetka, Carolinas Join Emotional Debate Over Executing Mentally Retarded, Charlotte Observer, Sept. 13, 2000, “Should the Carolinas ban the execution of people with mental retardation?”, Research & Polling Inc., Use of the Death Penalty Public Opinion Poll, Q. Mark Lane, The Execution of Injustice: A Cost and Lack-of-Benefit Analysis of the Death Penalty, 23 LOY. Justice Antonin Scalia commented in his dissent that "seldom has an opinion of this court rested so obviously upon nothing but the personal views of its members." During the penalty phase of the trial, the defense presented Atkins's school records and the results of an IQ test carried out by clinical psychologist Dr. Evan Nelson confirmed that he had an IQ of 59. 22 (Dec. 1989), Frank Hill, Death Penalty For The Retarded, San Diego Union-Tribune, Mar. I agree with Justice Scalia, post, at 1 (dissenting opinion), that the Court’s assessment of the current legislative judgment regarding the execution of defendants like petitioner more resembles a post hoc rationalization for the majority’s subjectively preferred result rather than any objective effort to ascertain the content of an evolving standard of decency. 5 (Oct. 1993), “Some people feel there is nothing wrong with imposing the death penalty on persons who are mentally retarded depending on the circumstances. Everything from variations in the survey methodology, such as the choice of the target population, the sampling design used, the questions asked, and the statistical analyses used to interpret the data can skew the results. reflecting Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist traditions … ‘share a conviction that the execution of persons with mental retardation cannot be morally justified’ ”; and stating that “polling data shows a widespread consensus among Americans … that executing the mentally retarded is wrong”). While there are 50 states, 19 don't allow the death penalty under any circumstance, making 21 out of 31 a clear majority of the death penalty states. The Court used Georgia as an example which in 1986 led to the first statute prohibiting these kinds of executions. But Justice JOHN PAUL STEVENS, writing for the majority in Atkins, concluded that times had changed in the thirteen years since the Penry decision was handed down. In addition, mentally retarded offenders could be less able to provide assistance to counsel in constructing their defense. For the Court to rely on such data today serves only to illustrate its willingness to proscribe by judicial fiat–at the behest of private organizations speaking only for themselves–a punishment about which no across-the-board consensus has developed through the workings of normal democratic processes in the laboratories of the States.

2001), “Do you believe mentally retarded people, who are convicted of capital murder, should be executed?”, Survey Research Center, University of Maryland, (Nov. 1988), “Would you favor or oppose the death penalty for a person convicted of murder if he or she is mentally retarded?”, Missouri Mental Retardation and Death Penalty Survey, Q. 101—103 (3d ed. “ ‘[I]n a democratic society legislatures, not courts, are constituted to respond to the will and consequently the moral values of the people.’ ” Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 175—176 (1976) (joint opinion of Stewart, Powell, and Stevens, JJ.) 62D (Dec. 1997), Paul Van Slambrouck, Execution and a Convict’s Mental State, The Christian Science Monitor, Apr. A jury sentenced Atkins to death and the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the sentence on appeal, saying it was "not willing to commute Atkins's sentence of death to life imprisonment merely because of his IQ score." Thus, there is a greater risk that the jury may impose the death penalty despite the existence of evidence that suggests that a lesser penalty should be imposed.

Two years later Congress reinstated the death penalty stating that it did not apply to those who were mentally retarded and since then several states have enacted statutes similar to Georgia. 14 (July 7, 1998), Samuel R. Gross, Second Thoughts: Americans’ Views on the Death Penalty at the Turn of the Century, Capital Punishment and the American Future (Feb. 2001), “Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for mentally retarded individuals convicted of serious crimes, such as murder?”, The Tarrance Group, Death Penalty Poll, Q. The best evidence on this score was determined to be the judgment of state legislatures. For example, the questions reported to have been asked in the various polls do not appear designed to gauge whether the respondents might find the death penalty an acceptable punishment for mentally retarded offenders in rare cases. Twelve years later in Hall v. Florida the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the discretion under which U.S. states can designate an individual convicted of murder as too intellectually incapacitated to be executed. . Jones, in contrast, had declined to make an initial statement to the authorities. Being mentally retarded means that a person not only has substandard intellectual functioning but also significant limitations in adaptive skills such as communication, self-care, and self-direction. 9 (Apr. Linea de tiempo: HISTORIA DE LA TELEVISIÓN. [4] Prosecutors sought writs of mandamus and prohibition in the Virginia Supreme Court on the matter, claiming Smiley had exceeded his judicial authority with his ruling. (quoting Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238, 383 (1972) (Burger, C. J., dissenting)). Case Re-visits Circuit Court September 5, 2012The Atkins case is re-heard at the Circuit Court, and the jury finds Atkins guilty. Following the Atkins Justice Cynthia D. Kinser, joined by Justice Donald W. Lemons, considered the two most conservative justices of the Court, wrote a lengthy dissent that was highly critical of both the majority's reasoning and the action of the circuit court in commuting the sentence. Affirming, the Virginia Supreme Court relied on Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302, in rejecting Atkins’ contention that he could not be sentenced to death because he is mentally retarded. In 1986, Georgia was the first state to outlaw the execution of the mentally retarded. Id. Because the mentally retarded are not able to communicate with the same sophistication as the average offender, there is a greater likelihood that their deficiency in communicative ability will be interpreted by juries as a lack of remorse for their crimes. 000395 OPINION BY JUSTICE CYNTHIA D. KINSER September 15, 2000 COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF YORK COUNTY N. Prentis Smiley, Jr., Judge Daryl Renard Atkins was convicted in the Circuit Court of York County of the 1996 capital murder of Eric Michael Nesbitt and sentenced to death.

The Court held that the Eighth Amendment expressly states, “[e]xcessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.”  The Court then looks to its decision in Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302 (1989), where the issue as to whether the death penalty should apply to mentally retarded persons was addressed.

Chief Justice WILLIAM REHNQUIST and Justices ANTONIN SCALIA and CLARENCE THOMAS dissented. Jones's testimony, which was both more coherent and credible than Atkins's testimony, was apparently credited by the jury in establishing Atkins's guilt. Supreme Court of Virginia reversed and remanded. To prove future dangerousness, the state relied on Atkins's prior felony convictions as well as the testimony of four victims of earlier robberies and assaults. However, at the time Atkins came before the Court, that number had risen to 18. as Amici Curiae in McCarver v. North Carolina, O. T. 2001, No. Das Urteil des Gerichtes verbietet das Verhängen der Todesstrafe über geistig behinderte Menschen und wendet dabei den 8. See also Stanford, 492 U.S., at 377 (plurality opinion) (refusing “the invitation to rest constitutional law upon such uncertain foundations” as “public opinion polls, the views of interest groups, and the positions adopted by various professional organizations”).
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The Virginia Supreme Court subsequently affirmed the sentence based on a prior Supreme Court decision, Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302 (1989). Atkins appealed his death sentence to the United States Supreme Court, claiming it violated the Eighth Amendment. After driving Nesbitt to an ATM and demanding him to withdraw additional cash at gun point, the two shot and killed their victim. The Court heard oral arguments in the case on February 20, 2002. Here, the Court goes beyond these well-established objective indicators of contemporary values. Case Brief for Atkins v. Virginia. Does sentencing a mentally retarded person to death violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment? Congress followed two years later, and the next year Maryland joined these two jurisdictions. In light of the "consistency of direction of change" toward a prohibition on the execution of the mentally retarded, and the relative rarity of such executions in states that still allow it, the Court proclaimed that a "national consensus has developed against it." And because the specifications of punishments are “peculiarly questions of legislative policy,” Gore v. United States, 357 U.S. 386, 393 (1958), our cases have cautioned against using “ ‘the aegis of the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause’ ” to cut off the normal democratic processes, Gregg, supra, at 176 (quoting Powell v. Texas, 392 U.S. 514, 533 (1968) (plurality opinion)). Do you think it IS or IS NOT all right to impose the death penalty on a mentally retarded person?”, Charlotte Observer-WMTV News Poll (Sept. 2000), Diane Suchetka, Carolinas Join Emotional Debate Over Executing Mentally Retarded, Charlotte Observer, Sept. 13, 2000, “Should the Carolinas ban the execution of people with mental retardation?”, Research & Polling Inc., Use of the Death Penalty Public Opinion Poll, Q. Mark Lane, The Execution of Injustice: A Cost and Lack-of-Benefit Analysis of the Death Penalty, 23 LOY. Justice Antonin Scalia commented in his dissent that "seldom has an opinion of this court rested so obviously upon nothing but the personal views of its members." During the penalty phase of the trial, the defense presented Atkins's school records and the results of an IQ test carried out by clinical psychologist Dr. Evan Nelson confirmed that he had an IQ of 59. 22 (Dec. 1989), Frank Hill, Death Penalty For The Retarded, San Diego Union-Tribune, Mar. I agree with Justice Scalia, post, at 1 (dissenting opinion), that the Court’s assessment of the current legislative judgment regarding the execution of defendants like petitioner more resembles a post hoc rationalization for the majority’s subjectively preferred result rather than any objective effort to ascertain the content of an evolving standard of decency. 5 (Oct. 1993), “Some people feel there is nothing wrong with imposing the death penalty on persons who are mentally retarded depending on the circumstances. Everything from variations in the survey methodology, such as the choice of the target population, the sampling design used, the questions asked, and the statistical analyses used to interpret the data can skew the results. reflecting Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist traditions … ‘share a conviction that the execution of persons with mental retardation cannot be morally justified’ ”; and stating that “polling data shows a widespread consensus among Americans … that executing the mentally retarded is wrong”). While there are 50 states, 19 don't allow the death penalty under any circumstance, making 21 out of 31 a clear majority of the death penalty states. The Court used Georgia as an example which in 1986 led to the first statute prohibiting these kinds of executions. But Justice JOHN PAUL STEVENS, writing for the majority in Atkins, concluded that times had changed in the thirteen years since the Penry decision was handed down. In addition, mentally retarded offenders could be less able to provide assistance to counsel in constructing their defense. For the Court to rely on such data today serves only to illustrate its willingness to proscribe by judicial fiat–at the behest of private organizations speaking only for themselves–a punishment about which no across-the-board consensus has developed through the workings of normal democratic processes in the laboratories of the States.

2001), “Do you believe mentally retarded people, who are convicted of capital murder, should be executed?”, Survey Research Center, University of Maryland, (Nov. 1988), “Would you favor or oppose the death penalty for a person convicted of murder if he or she is mentally retarded?”, Missouri Mental Retardation and Death Penalty Survey, Q. 101—103 (3d ed. “ ‘[I]n a democratic society legislatures, not courts, are constituted to respond to the will and consequently the moral values of the people.’ ” Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 175—176 (1976) (joint opinion of Stewart, Powell, and Stevens, JJ.) 62D (Dec. 1997), Paul Van Slambrouck, Execution and a Convict’s Mental State, The Christian Science Monitor, Apr. A jury sentenced Atkins to death and the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the sentence on appeal, saying it was "not willing to commute Atkins's sentence of death to life imprisonment merely because of his IQ score." Thus, there is a greater risk that the jury may impose the death penalty despite the existence of evidence that suggests that a lesser penalty should be imposed.

Two years later Congress reinstated the death penalty stating that it did not apply to those who were mentally retarded and since then several states have enacted statutes similar to Georgia. 14 (July 7, 1998), Samuel R. Gross, Second Thoughts: Americans’ Views on the Death Penalty at the Turn of the Century, Capital Punishment and the American Future (Feb. 2001), “Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for mentally retarded individuals convicted of serious crimes, such as murder?”, The Tarrance Group, Death Penalty Poll, Q. The best evidence on this score was determined to be the judgment of state legislatures. For example, the questions reported to have been asked in the various polls do not appear designed to gauge whether the respondents might find the death penalty an acceptable punishment for mentally retarded offenders in rare cases. Twelve years later in Hall v. Florida the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the discretion under which U.S. states can designate an individual convicted of murder as too intellectually incapacitated to be executed. . Jones, in contrast, had declined to make an initial statement to the authorities. Being mentally retarded means that a person not only has substandard intellectual functioning but also significant limitations in adaptive skills such as communication, self-care, and self-direction. 9 (Apr. Linea de tiempo: HISTORIA DE LA TELEVISIÓN. [4] Prosecutors sought writs of mandamus and prohibition in the Virginia Supreme Court on the matter, claiming Smiley had exceeded his judicial authority with his ruling. (quoting Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238, 383 (1972) (Burger, C. J., dissenting)). Case Re-visits Circuit Court September 5, 2012The Atkins case is re-heard at the Circuit Court, and the jury finds Atkins guilty. Following the Atkins Justice Cynthia D. Kinser, joined by Justice Donald W. Lemons, considered the two most conservative justices of the Court, wrote a lengthy dissent that was highly critical of both the majority's reasoning and the action of the circuit court in commuting the sentence. Affirming, the Virginia Supreme Court relied on Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302, in rejecting Atkins’ contention that he could not be sentenced to death because he is mentally retarded. In 1986, Georgia was the first state to outlaw the execution of the mentally retarded. Id. Because the mentally retarded are not able to communicate with the same sophistication as the average offender, there is a greater likelihood that their deficiency in communicative ability will be interpreted by juries as a lack of remorse for their crimes. 000395 OPINION BY JUSTICE CYNTHIA D. KINSER September 15, 2000 COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF YORK COUNTY N. Prentis Smiley, Jr., Judge Daryl Renard Atkins was convicted in the Circuit Court of York County of the 1996 capital murder of Eric Michael Nesbitt and sentenced to death.

The Court held that the Eighth Amendment expressly states, “[e]xcessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.”  The Court then looks to its decision in Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302 (1989), where the issue as to whether the death penalty should apply to mentally retarded persons was addressed.

Chief Justice WILLIAM REHNQUIST and Justices ANTONIN SCALIA and CLARENCE THOMAS dissented. Jones's testimony, which was both more coherent and credible than Atkins's testimony, was apparently credited by the jury in establishing Atkins's guilt. Supreme Court of Virginia reversed and remanded. To prove future dangerousness, the state relied on Atkins's prior felony convictions as well as the testimony of four victims of earlier robberies and assaults. However, at the time Atkins came before the Court, that number had risen to 18. as Amici Curiae in McCarver v. North Carolina, O. T. 2001, No. Das Urteil des Gerichtes verbietet das Verhängen der Todesstrafe über geistig behinderte Menschen und wendet dabei den 8. See also Stanford, 492 U.S., at 377 (plurality opinion) (refusing “the invitation to rest constitutional law upon such uncertain foundations” as “public opinion polls, the views of interest groups, and the positions adopted by various professional organizations”).
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atkins v virginia 2000


He testified that Atkins was not mentally retarded but rather was of "average intelligence, at least," and diagnosable as having antisocial personality disorder.
*. At the penalty phase of the trial, the state introduced victim impact evidence and proved two aggravating circumstances: future dangerousness and "vileness of the offense." As a result of the plea, Jones became ineligible to receive the death penalty. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/00-8452.ZO.html, https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/536/304/. 13 (July 1992), John DiPippa, Will Fairchild’s Death Violate the Constitution, or Simply Our Morality?, Arkansas Forum, Sept. 1993, “Some people say that there is nothing wrong with executing a person who is mentally retarded. The Court pronounces the punishment cruel and unusual primarily because 18 States recently have passed laws limiting the death eligibility of certain defendants based on mental retardation alone, despite the fact that the laws of 19 other States besides Virginia continue to leave the question of proper punishment to the individuated consideration of sentencing judges or juries familiar with the particular offender and his or her crime. Poll and survey results reported in Brief for American Association on Mental Retardation et al. L. A. L. Rev. Apr 21, 2000. The goal of retribution is not served by imposing the death penalty on a group of people who have a significantly lesser capacity to understand why they are being executed. 28, 1993, at G3, “Some people feel there is nothing wrong with imposing the death penalty on persons who are mentally retarded depending on the circumstances. 1448, 1468 (1998), “If the convicted person was…mentally retarded, would you favor or oppose the death penalty?”, Peter Hart Research Associates, Inc., Innocence Survey, Q. Instead, Smiley determined the evidence was overwhelming that Atkins had participated in a felony murder and commuted Atkins's sentence to life in prison. Second, none of the 27 polls cited disclose the targeted survey population or the sampling techniques used by those who conducted the research. The evidence introduced at trial showed that at approximately midnight on August 16, 1996, Atkins and William Jones, both armed with semiautomatic weapons, abducted Nesbitt, robbed him, drove him to an automated teller machine, forced him to withdraw additional cash, and then took him to an isolated location where they shot him eight times at close range.
The Virginia Supreme Court subsequently affirmed the sentence based on a prior Supreme Court decision, Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302 (1989). Atkins appealed his death sentence to the United States Supreme Court, claiming it violated the Eighth Amendment. After driving Nesbitt to an ATM and demanding him to withdraw additional cash at gun point, the two shot and killed their victim. The Court heard oral arguments in the case on February 20, 2002. Here, the Court goes beyond these well-established objective indicators of contemporary values. Case Brief for Atkins v. Virginia. Does sentencing a mentally retarded person to death violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment? Congress followed two years later, and the next year Maryland joined these two jurisdictions. In light of the "consistency of direction of change" toward a prohibition on the execution of the mentally retarded, and the relative rarity of such executions in states that still allow it, the Court proclaimed that a "national consensus has developed against it." And because the specifications of punishments are “peculiarly questions of legislative policy,” Gore v. United States, 357 U.S. 386, 393 (1958), our cases have cautioned against using “ ‘the aegis of the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause’ ” to cut off the normal democratic processes, Gregg, supra, at 176 (quoting Powell v. Texas, 392 U.S. 514, 533 (1968) (plurality opinion)). Do you think it IS or IS NOT all right to impose the death penalty on a mentally retarded person?”, Charlotte Observer-WMTV News Poll (Sept. 2000), Diane Suchetka, Carolinas Join Emotional Debate Over Executing Mentally Retarded, Charlotte Observer, Sept. 13, 2000, “Should the Carolinas ban the execution of people with mental retardation?”, Research & Polling Inc., Use of the Death Penalty Public Opinion Poll, Q. Mark Lane, The Execution of Injustice: A Cost and Lack-of-Benefit Analysis of the Death Penalty, 23 LOY. Justice Antonin Scalia commented in his dissent that "seldom has an opinion of this court rested so obviously upon nothing but the personal views of its members." During the penalty phase of the trial, the defense presented Atkins's school records and the results of an IQ test carried out by clinical psychologist Dr. Evan Nelson confirmed that he had an IQ of 59. 22 (Dec. 1989), Frank Hill, Death Penalty For The Retarded, San Diego Union-Tribune, Mar. I agree with Justice Scalia, post, at 1 (dissenting opinion), that the Court’s assessment of the current legislative judgment regarding the execution of defendants like petitioner more resembles a post hoc rationalization for the majority’s subjectively preferred result rather than any objective effort to ascertain the content of an evolving standard of decency. 5 (Oct. 1993), “Some people feel there is nothing wrong with imposing the death penalty on persons who are mentally retarded depending on the circumstances. Everything from variations in the survey methodology, such as the choice of the target population, the sampling design used, the questions asked, and the statistical analyses used to interpret the data can skew the results. reflecting Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist traditions … ‘share a conviction that the execution of persons with mental retardation cannot be morally justified’ ”; and stating that “polling data shows a widespread consensus among Americans … that executing the mentally retarded is wrong”). While there are 50 states, 19 don't allow the death penalty under any circumstance, making 21 out of 31 a clear majority of the death penalty states. The Court used Georgia as an example which in 1986 led to the first statute prohibiting these kinds of executions. But Justice JOHN PAUL STEVENS, writing for the majority in Atkins, concluded that times had changed in the thirteen years since the Penry decision was handed down. In addition, mentally retarded offenders could be less able to provide assistance to counsel in constructing their defense. For the Court to rely on such data today serves only to illustrate its willingness to proscribe by judicial fiat–at the behest of private organizations speaking only for themselves–a punishment about which no across-the-board consensus has developed through the workings of normal democratic processes in the laboratories of the States.

2001), “Do you believe mentally retarded people, who are convicted of capital murder, should be executed?”, Survey Research Center, University of Maryland, (Nov. 1988), “Would you favor or oppose the death penalty for a person convicted of murder if he or she is mentally retarded?”, Missouri Mental Retardation and Death Penalty Survey, Q. 101—103 (3d ed. “ ‘[I]n a democratic society legislatures, not courts, are constituted to respond to the will and consequently the moral values of the people.’ ” Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 175—176 (1976) (joint opinion of Stewart, Powell, and Stevens, JJ.) 62D (Dec. 1997), Paul Van Slambrouck, Execution and a Convict’s Mental State, The Christian Science Monitor, Apr. A jury sentenced Atkins to death and the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the sentence on appeal, saying it was "not willing to commute Atkins's sentence of death to life imprisonment merely because of his IQ score." Thus, there is a greater risk that the jury may impose the death penalty despite the existence of evidence that suggests that a lesser penalty should be imposed.

Two years later Congress reinstated the death penalty stating that it did not apply to those who were mentally retarded and since then several states have enacted statutes similar to Georgia. 14 (July 7, 1998), Samuel R. Gross, Second Thoughts: Americans’ Views on the Death Penalty at the Turn of the Century, Capital Punishment and the American Future (Feb. 2001), “Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for mentally retarded individuals convicted of serious crimes, such as murder?”, The Tarrance Group, Death Penalty Poll, Q. The best evidence on this score was determined to be the judgment of state legislatures. For example, the questions reported to have been asked in the various polls do not appear designed to gauge whether the respondents might find the death penalty an acceptable punishment for mentally retarded offenders in rare cases. Twelve years later in Hall v. Florida the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the discretion under which U.S. states can designate an individual convicted of murder as too intellectually incapacitated to be executed. . Jones, in contrast, had declined to make an initial statement to the authorities. Being mentally retarded means that a person not only has substandard intellectual functioning but also significant limitations in adaptive skills such as communication, self-care, and self-direction. 9 (Apr. Linea de tiempo: HISTORIA DE LA TELEVISIÓN. [4] Prosecutors sought writs of mandamus and prohibition in the Virginia Supreme Court on the matter, claiming Smiley had exceeded his judicial authority with his ruling. (quoting Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238, 383 (1972) (Burger, C. J., dissenting)). Case Re-visits Circuit Court September 5, 2012The Atkins case is re-heard at the Circuit Court, and the jury finds Atkins guilty. Following the Atkins Justice Cynthia D. Kinser, joined by Justice Donald W. Lemons, considered the two most conservative justices of the Court, wrote a lengthy dissent that was highly critical of both the majority's reasoning and the action of the circuit court in commuting the sentence. Affirming, the Virginia Supreme Court relied on Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302, in rejecting Atkins’ contention that he could not be sentenced to death because he is mentally retarded. In 1986, Georgia was the first state to outlaw the execution of the mentally retarded. Id. Because the mentally retarded are not able to communicate with the same sophistication as the average offender, there is a greater likelihood that their deficiency in communicative ability will be interpreted by juries as a lack of remorse for their crimes. 000395 OPINION BY JUSTICE CYNTHIA D. KINSER September 15, 2000 COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF YORK COUNTY N. Prentis Smiley, Jr., Judge Daryl Renard Atkins was convicted in the Circuit Court of York County of the 1996 capital murder of Eric Michael Nesbitt and sentenced to death.

The Court held that the Eighth Amendment expressly states, “[e]xcessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.”  The Court then looks to its decision in Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302 (1989), where the issue as to whether the death penalty should apply to mentally retarded persons was addressed.

Chief Justice WILLIAM REHNQUIST and Justices ANTONIN SCALIA and CLARENCE THOMAS dissented. Jones's testimony, which was both more coherent and credible than Atkins's testimony, was apparently credited by the jury in establishing Atkins's guilt. Supreme Court of Virginia reversed and remanded. To prove future dangerousness, the state relied on Atkins's prior felony convictions as well as the testimony of four victims of earlier robberies and assaults. However, at the time Atkins came before the Court, that number had risen to 18. as Amici Curiae in McCarver v. North Carolina, O. T. 2001, No. Das Urteil des Gerichtes verbietet das Verhängen der Todesstrafe über geistig behinderte Menschen und wendet dabei den 8. See also Stanford, 492 U.S., at 377 (plurality opinion) (refusing “the invitation to rest constitutional law upon such uncertain foundations” as “public opinion polls, the views of interest groups, and the positions adopted by various professional organizations”).

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