Justices Asked to Define 'Mentally Retarded' in Death Cases

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Death row, San Quentin
Death row, San Quentin

The justices could take a narrow path simply by ruling that there is no bright-line cutoff, said John Blume of Cornell University Law School's Death Penalty Project.

"The problem is going in the other direction here,"  Blumesaid. "If the justices tell Florida, ‘OK, you can change the definition of what it means to be a person with an intellectual disability,’ that’s going to invite mischief. What's the next thing—a state can say, ‘We want to change it to 65 or below'? Agreeing with Florida could only encourage states to deviate even more markedly. I don’t see the upside of the court creating those kinds of incentives."

Contact Marcia Coyle at mcoyle@alm.com.

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    Sounds as though the three elements are describing the majority male populace.

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