Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Court decision: Maldonado v Thaler (2010) 5th circuit decision










On October 29 the Federal Appeals Court (5th Circuit) decided Virgilio Maldonado's Atkins appeal on Oct. 29 (click here to view) The district court opinion has previously been posted at the ICDP blog. In August, the appeals court granted a certificate of appeal on the intellectual disability issue, which it disposed of on the 29th. Interestingly, the court spent significant time discussing a psychologists credibility that was noted in a prior ICDP discussion of "voodoo psychometrics." However, in the end, the court concluded that even if Dr. Denkowski's testimony was tossed out.... “we conclude that Maldonado could not, with the evidence that would remain, meet his burden for obtaining federal habeas relief."

Again, the Flynn Effect was in play. Testimony indicated that all experts accepted the validity of the Flynn Effect phenomena, but differed on whether it should be used the adjust an individuals IQ score, which seems to be the central point of the debate of the Flynn Effect (aka norm obsolescence) in many Atkins cases. The final decision relied on a Texas case law which called the Flynn Effect an "unexamined scientific concept".

Finally, this decision made frequent reference to the case of Wiley v Epps (2009, 2010).




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