Friday, October 16, 2009

J. Williams (2007, Texas) IQ MR Atkins death penalty decision posted: Many issues raised

Another interesting Atkins court decision has been posted to the court decisions section of this blog.  Jeffrey Williams (Williams v Quarterman, Texas, 2007).  Augmenting this court decision is a copy of a psychological report included in the decision.  An initial read of the decision and the psychological report raises a number of interesting questions and issues, such as:

  • The apparent role of a judge becoming the psychometric expert when she decides which part score (verbal, nonverbal, full scale) to use to establish Williams level of intellectual functioning.  Kevin Foley has provided a guest post about this issue, which will be the next post at this blog.
  • The continued issue of part vs full scale IQ scores in Atkins cases. 
  • The role of  school records and school special education decisions made during elementary and secondary schooling in Atkins decisions.
  • The role of measured academic achievement in Atkins decisions, particularly the issue of whether a person who may be mentally retarded can achieve above their measured IQ (note - I've written about this previously and will make comments with appropriate links in a separate post..the answer is "yes").
  • The conceptually and technically messy issue of determining pre-incarceration levels of adaptive behavior retrospectively.  I'm hoping that a few experts in Atkins AB assessment will review the documents and weigh in on the information provided, expert opinions, and final decision.  This area is a definite methodological quagmire in Atkins cases. 
  • The whole issue of malingering and how to detect it
I will be making my own follow-up comments regarding some of these issues in the near future.

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