START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
1,826,543 people care about Human Rights

Texas Will Execute Inmate With IQ of 61 on Tuesday

Texas Will Execute Inmate With IQ of 61 on Tuesday

54-year-old Marvin Wilson is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Tuesday in Texas, even though extensive testing by a neuropsychologist has found that he reads and writes at the level of a 7-year-old and has an IQ of 61. He failed the seventh grade, was socially promoted through the eighth and ninth grades and dropped out of school in the tenth; he reportedly sucked his thumb into adulthood and was unable to operate toys such as tops and marbles, writes Danielle Citron on Concurring Opinions. A Beaumont, Texas, jury sentenced Wilson to death in 1998 for the 1992 murder of Jerry Williams after an alleged fight at a gas station.

The Supreme Court banned the execution of those with intellectual disabilities or mental retardation (the latter term is still used in the US) in 2002. States must follow the court’s ruling, though some discretion was left to states to administer the injunction.

The Lone Star State Uses Its Own Criteria For Assessing Intellectual Disability

Texas has interpreted this to mean that it can set its own at criteria for determining if an inmate has intellctual disabilities. But rather than rely on scientific, clinical standards approved by, for instance, the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), Texas uses seven criteria called “Briseņo factors” that it devised on its own and that are not used by any other state. The AAIDD refers to them as an “impressionistic ‘test’ [that] directs fact-finders to use ‘factors’ that are based on false stereotypes about mental retardation that effectively exclude all but the most severely incapacitated.”

Named for the decision which produced them, the Briseņo factors are not based on scientific methodology as are tests that were administered to Wilson, such as the Raven Standard Progressive Matrices and the Peabody Individual Achievement Test-Revised. Notes the Guardian:

“Most Texas citizens,” the argument ran, “might agree that Steinbeck’s Lennie should, by virtue of his lack of reasoning ability and adaptive skills, be exempt” from execution. By implication anyone less impaired than Steinbeck’s fictional migrant ranch worker should have no constitutional protection.

Citron writes, and I wholeheartedly agree, that “although literature can tell us much about society and law… It should not replace or disregard well-accepted scientific measures of evaluation.” Texas requested neither evidence nor testimony in its assessment of Wilson’s cognitive ability using the Briseņo factors.

Marvin Wilson Will Be Executed on Tuesday

On Monday, Wilson’s lawyer, Lee Kovarsky, is petitioning the Supreme Court for a stay of execution for more time to examine Texas’ “unique” methods of assessing intellectual disability in inmates.

Along with the case of Warren Hill, whose execution was called off barely 90 minutes before it was to occur last month, that of Marvin Wilson shows that the Supreme Court has a growing problem on its hands as states act in “open defiance of the will of the highest judicial panel in the land in relation to the execution of people with learning difficulties.”

Take Action: Sign the petition to stop this execution.

 

Related Care2 Coverage

Disabled Death Row Inmate Granted Stay of Execution at 11th Hour

BREAKING: Connecticut Abolishes Death Penalty

More Than One-Third of All Executions in the US Took Place in Texas

 

Read more: , , , , , , , , ,

Photo by Duke Human Rights Center

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

388 comments

+ add your own
10:45AM PST on Feb 25, 2013

Who in God's eyes has the right to take a life? Nobody & God will surely judge those who do. Be it acting for he law or not. Incarceration to protect the public from murderers is one thing. To execute that offender is also tantamount to murder & makes the executioners just as guilty. Even if an official didn't actually carry out the execution personally. They are still as guilty by association.

8:16AM PST on Feb 25, 2013

does having a low iq mean they dont know wrong from right???

8:11AM PST on Feb 25, 2013

Texas Will Execute Inmate With IQ of 61 on Tuesday?

Obama's predecessor isn't in jail.

7:40AM PST on Feb 25, 2013

These inmates that kill people and then want us the people who do not do these crimes of murder want the public to buy into this crazy story that "we are mental challenged " well poor you. No one had a gun to your head to do the crime of MURDER so pay the piper for what you did - eye for an eye.
I would not grant any stays if I were in charge, they are useless to society and will not change but just do it all over again like others have - OFF WITH THEIR HEADS I SAY.

7:28AM PST on Feb 25, 2013

WHAT IS THE LONG TERM PROGNOSIS LOCKING THIS HUMAN BEING UP FOR LIFE MAYBE 50 - 60 YEARS AS AN ANIMAL BECAUSE THE POWERS THAT BE DO NOT HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE OR DEATH WHICH WILL RELEASE HIS SOUL TO MAKE ANOTHER INCARNATION. HAS ANY ONE THE RIGHT TO TAKE A HUMAN LIFE AND THE ANSWER IS NO.
THE GOVERNMENT IN AMERICA DOES NOT REALLY CARE ABOUT PEOPLES RIGHTS. KILLING PEOPLE THAT GET IN THE WAY OF THE POLICIES THEY WANT TO ESTABLISH HAS BECOME COMMON PLACE SO A PRISONERS RIGHTS ARE THE LAST THING THAT AUTHORITIES WANT TO LOOK INTO THEY GET PAID ON MAKING THE RIGHT POLITICAL DECISION AND VALUE FOR MONEY SPENT.

6:01AM PST on Feb 25, 2013

It is Tex-ASS ! Look at the Governor nut job and his Buba followers. Where is Obama and the DOJ in this. Is it not a clear case of violating Constititional rights?
PLEASE GIVE TEXAS back to Mexico.

5:26PM PST on Jan 14, 2013

So, the great state is getting rid of everyone smarter than their judges and politicians?

6:54PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Texas is known to be filled with the Bubba Party. These are the same morons who cheer a politician for suggesting the uninsured should just die of illness. I am appalled to be an American.

8:25PM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

Change: I plan to keep trying to send messages the more direct way. I thought maybe the site was just busy and maybe I should try a different time of day. I'm still whittling through my current days email, so I have no idea if the customer service department has answered yet. - Michelle S.

8:27AM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

Sorry for the typo's- I've received no response when I've contacted them, and this its definitely not the ideal or intended way to communicate, but at least it gets through.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

meet our writers

Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.