Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Court Decision: Schoenwetter v FL (2010) - an attempt to leap the Atkins "slippery slope"


Here is a very interesting attempt to move the "slippery slope" of Atkins a long way---more of an attempt to leap the entire slope in one huge step.

The case is Schoenwetter v FL (2010). This was a combination case - an appeal and a separate petition for a state writ of habeas corpus. The relevant discussion begins on page 49. Schoenwetter argued that under both Atkins and Roper, that his execution would be unconstitutional. Based on a quick skim there would appear to be two obvious problems. First he wasn't under 18 (Roper decision) at the time of the crime. Second his Full Scale IQ was 123---50+ IQ points above the generally accepted MR/ID cut score of 70 (plus or minus 5 pts for SEM). This might be the highest IQ-Atkins claim seen to date.

Schoenwetter apparently suffered from Asperger's, ADHD and some type of frontal lobe brain dysfunction. But, as with the other cases that have attempted to morph Atkins to some other condition(s), the court rejected the argument.

I will be adding this case to the ICDP Court Decisions blogroll, along with a few others I've promised, this morning. Thanks again to Kevin Foley for forwarding this very interesting decision to my attention.




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