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Inmate IQ scores: Florida inmate challenges 'intellectually disabled' issue

United States Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court

Inmate IQ scores are being addressed in the United States Supreme Court. Freddie Lee Hall, 68, an inmate who has been on death row for 35 years for the rape and murder of a pregnant woman, argues that he is “intellectually disabled” and should not be executed. According to a WebProNews report on Monday, the case puts the spotlight on the concerns over mentally ill persons being on death row.

If Hall’s appeal is unsuccessful, he will most likely be executed.

Back in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court barred all states from executing intellectually disabled persons. However, until now, the states decided whether a person is intellectually disabled or not. The related-law in Florida says that a person with an IQ of 70 or higher is criminally competent and may be executed. Hall’s IQ is 71. In Hall’s case, however, he has been deemed “mentally retarded” since he was a child.

Hall’s appeal asserts, in part, that he falls within a five-percent margin of error. Additionally, it is asserted that an IQ test alone is not enough to judge whether someone is or isn’t “mentally retarded.”

Hall’s attorney, Seth Waxman, claims that the court shouldn’t ignore that margin of error, making the imposition of the death penalty under that condition unconstitutional.

However, an attorney representing the state of Florida, Allen Windsor, says that everybody has agreed on 70 for many decades and that the state has an adversarial process – a burden of proof.

Again, the case sheds light on the intellectually disabled on death row and needs to be addressed in the higher court.

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