Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Court decisions: Hearn v TX (2010), Dunn v LA (2010), Lizcan v TX (2010), Rodrigues v Wong (CA, 2010)

Four recent Atkins Court Decisions have been added to the ICDP Court Decisions (n-105) blog side bar.  They are listed with a only a  few comments--and the comments are gleaned from the emails of the individuals who sent them to me.  I've not had time to digest them properly myself in order to provide anything in the way of an in-depth commentary.  Those days of commentary seem to be over for me for now.....as I simply can't find the time.  I post these for archival purposes and with the hope that others will read them and consider making guest blog commentary posts re: the various issues in any of the decisions.
  • Hearn v TX (2010)Dale Watson and Stephen Greenspan served as experts in this case.  They are two of the experts I've listed at the ICDP Professional Experts blogroll.  I personally know they are top-notch experts, so I would recommend reading this decision to capture the essence of their logic, data and testimony.  I plan to when I can.
  • Dunn v LA (2010)Lots of discussion of the use of the Flynn Effect adjustment of IQ scores.  If you want to get a feel for the pro/con arguments regarding the courts handling of the FE, check the rather lengthy concurring opinion.
  • Lizcano v TX (2010) This is a long decision.  Of significant interest is the concurring/dissenting opinion of one judge, joined in by two other judges, who question the wisdom (or lack thereof) of the so-called Texas Briseno factors - the court imposed adaptive behavior factors in Texas.  The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (9 judges) is the highest court in the state for criminal cases, so 6 judges appear to uphold the Briseno factors.    According to the dissenting-concurring opinion--very interesting.
"The Court's scattershot approach to adaptive deficits--letting the fact-finder hunt and peck among adaptive deficits, unfettered by the specific diagnostic criteria that inform the expert opinion--will allow some capital offenders whom every rational diagnostician would find meets the clinical definition of mental retardation to be executed simply because they demonstrate a few pronounced adaptive strengths along with their manifest adaptive deficits. Better, I think, to be over-inclusive and mistakenly sentence some borderline intelligent capital offenders to the not-inconsiderable penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole than to inadvertently execute even a single mildly mentally retarded offender in violation of the strictures of the Eighth Amendment."

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