Ever more nations have abandoned the barbaric death penalty. Perhaps, eventually, the 33 U.S. states still executing people will come around, too. But even in a nation where 1,301 individuals have been executed since 1976 and another 3,170 are in the queue, it is considered uncivilized to execute the mentally retarded.
Except in Texas.
Because in Texas, officialdumb likes executing people. Under Gov. Rick Perry, 244 individuals have been injected with lethal chemicals. And the mental condition of those executed makes no never mind to the guy signing the order, the criminal-injustice system assigning the sentence or the authorities carrying it out.
So, instead of following the clear spirit of the 6-3 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in Atkins v. Virginia, Texas plans to stick the needle in Marvin Wilson’s arm Tuesday. He has a certified IQ of 61. He has been on death row for 18 years for the 1992 slaying of Jerry Robert Williams.
Advocates hope the Supreme Court chooses to put a stay on Wilson’s execution and review his case in light of Atkins.
Apparently still believing in the good faith behavior of the state courts despite all they have witnessed to the contrary, the six members of the Supreme Court majority in that 2001 case left it up to states to come up with a means of determining whether a convicted murderer is faking retardation.
(Continue reading below the fold.)