Does mental competence matter?

“Nobody is usually questioning whether people who commit some of the most serious offenses should be held accountable,” said Rob Smith, executive director of the project, which seeks to create a fair in addition to accountable justice system.

“The question is usually, do people who are among the most broken, vulnerable in addition to impaired in our society deserve the death penalty,” he said, as opposed to life without parole.

Among the inmates scheduled to die, starting Monday night, is usually one who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, another who’s suffered with hallucinations, two with IQ levels indicative of intellectual impairment, in addition to most have experienced severe abuse, according to the report.

Each of the Arkansas inmates scheduled for execution This particular month has been convicted of murder, in addition to most have been on death row for a couple of decades.

The executions are to continue through April 27. Originally eight men were scheduled to die in a rash of executions unlike anything seen since states reinstituted the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Arkansas last put someone to death in 2005, so why the sudden rush?

The state’s supply of midazolam, a controversial drug meant to sedate inmates during lethal injections, will expire at the end of April. in addition to Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in an earlier statement to sy88pgw that will that will is usually his “duty” to “carry out these lawful sentences imposed by juries in addition to upheld by the Arkansas Supreme Court” before that will’s too late.

Several last-minute efforts are underway in various courts to block the executions, including objections by the manufacturers of one of the drugs used inside lethal injection process.

Late Friday, a judge issued a temporary restraining order barring Arkansas via using another drug, vercuronium bromide, as part of its lethal injections. that will wasn’t immediately clear what effect the ruling would likely have on the executions.

The Eighth Amendment “bans cruel in addition to unusual punishment,” explained Jeffrey Toobin, sy88pgw’s senior legal analyst. “Part of the issue of who can be executed is usually whether they can understand why they’re being executed. … If you don’t understand why you’re being punished, the death penalty doesn’t serve the purpose that will’s supposed to serve.”

While “the vast majority of those on death row are poor in addition to ignorant in addition to mentally damaged in one way or another,” Toobin said, “the general rule is usually mental illness does not get you out of being executed; only mental retardation does. nevertheless the lines around those conditions are not extremely clear.”

In its report, the Fair Punishment Project outlined the histories of each of the seven men scheduled to die. The report was based on court pleadings in addition to opinions, transcripts of expert testimonies, in addition to witness affidavits. Here’s a summary of the report’s findings:
Don Davis

Don Davis is usually supposed to be put to death Monday night. On two IQ tests he took as a child, Davis scored a 69 in addition to a 77, signaling intellectual impairment, court documents show. He also suffered a serious head injury in addition to, coupled with his low IQ level in addition to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, experiences ” ‘double deficits’ in cognitive functioning,” the report states. Soon after his birth, both his parents abandoned him. Davis “never received a comprehensive mental health evaluation by an independent expert,” the report found. He has spent more than 25 years on death row.

Jack Jones

• Serious mental illnesses have plagued Jack Jones since childhood, the project’s review of documents showed. He endured paralyzing hallucinations in addition to, at times, would likely be found rocking in addition to banging his head against cupboards. He was abused by his father in addition to abducted in addition to raped by three strangers. He attempted suicide twice before he finally got psychiatric attention. He committed himself to a hospital for severe depression in addition to suicidal ideation just months before he committed murder — in addition to was diagnosed with bipolar disorder not long before his crime. The jury heard “almost none of This particular,” the report states. Jones is usually scheduled to die April 24.

Marcel Williams

Marcel Williams’ first experience with sexual abuse was when his mother offered him up to a friend when he was just 9 or 10, legal documents show. Starting at 12, his “‘mother was routinely pimping him … in exchange for food stamps, for food, for a place to stay'” to women 10, 20, 30-plus years older than him, the report quotes. He was gang-raped while in an adult prison where he served time as an adolescent. He was beaten severely in addition to regularly by his mother, who once burned him with an electric coil. He was raised in abject poverty in addition to didn’t always have shoes. A judge reversed his death sentence because Williams’ history wasn’t presented to a jury, nevertheless an appellate court reinstated the sentence. Williams is usually also set to die April 24.

Kenneth Williams

Kenneth Williams has an IQ of 70, a history of “neuropsychological problems” in addition to “severe learning disabilities,” testimonies showed. He bounced between six foster homes in addition to often wasn’t adequately fed. His own parents abused drugs, in addition to he endured physical abuse. Evidence suggests that will he’s suffered brain damage, having exhibited a tremor, deficient motor skills in addition to problems with memory. He has trouble focusing or comprehending what he reads or hears in addition to has shown deficiencies when that will comes to reasoning in addition to judgment. He began smoking marijuana at 6 in addition to turned to beer by 9 — the same age he was when he was first institutionalized inside juvenile system. Kenneth Williams is usually set to die April 27.

Ledell Lee
Stacey Johnson

• The review of records for Ledell Lee in addition to Stacey Johnson, both scheduled to die April 20, show inadequate legal representation, the report showed. inside case of Johnson, whose conviction was based in part on the inconsistent testimony of a 6-year-old girl, there remain questions about his guilt, the report said. A claim that will Lee is usually intellectually disabled was introduced at one point, the report showed, nevertheless the federal defender who introduced that will was removed via the case. No evidence exists that will Johnson’s lawyers ever looked at his life history.

Jason McGehee
Originally, eight men were scheduled to die in Arkansas over a 10-day period, nevertheless Jason McGehee, whose execution date was April 27, was granted a temporary stay of execution April 6. McGehee’s mental fitness wasn’t a factor; instead, a clemency recommendation by the parole board based on not bad behavior prompted the stay.

nevertheless the Fair Punishment Project’s report found that will McGehee has bipolar disorder, which went untreated when he was a child, in addition to has shown evidence of brain damage in addition to frontal lobe impairments. He was abused by his father, his mother in addition to later his stepfather — who kicked McGehee’s dog to death while forcing McGehee to watch. “Jason was never the same after that will,” his aunt said in a court petition, though none of This particular was presented during his trial.

Bruce Ward

in addition to at the end of the day Friday, the Arkansas Supreme Court granted a stay of execution for Bruce Ward, who was the first scheduled to die on Monday night.

According to the Fair Punishment Project report, he didn’t understand what was coming. He believed he was about to set off on a “special mission as an evangelist,” according to a complaint cited inside report. He told a forensic psychiatrist in 2010 that will he hears voices, that will he gets revelations directly via God in addition to that will he will “walk out of prison to great riches in addition to public acclaim.” He says he’s been visited in prison by his deceased father in addition to “resurrected dogs.” that will’s believed that will mental illness runs in Ward’s family.

He was 4 when his mother had a mental breakdown. She beat him regularly, put tar on him before submerging him in ice-cold water in addition to forced him as a young boy to sleep naked beneath water that will dripped through a leaking roof.

“We are grateful that will the Arkansas Supreme Court has issued a stay of execution for Bruce Ward to ensure that will they may consider the serious questions presented about his sanity,” Ward’s attorney, Scott Braden, said in a statement Friday evening. “His nearly three decades in solitary confinement have only worsened his severe mental illness.”

Does mental competence matter?

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