Don’t Execute Man with Intellectual Disability

joe gratz

Target: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

Goal: Commute the sentence of an intellectually disabled man convicted of two murders.

Salvadorean national Alfredo Prieto was convicted of the murders of Rachael A. Raver and Warren H. Fulton III in 2010 following a mistrial (2007) and an overturned sentence (2009). He has been sentenced to death and has exhausted his appeals, but there is evidence that he has a mental disability that would make his execution unconstitutional. Sign the petition and urge Governor McAuliffe to commute Prieto’s sentence.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that those with intellectual disabilities are not eligible for capital punishment. Virginia law at the time of Prieto’s trial defined “intellectual disability” as applying to those with an IQ under 70. Prieto took three IQ tests, two of which resulted in scores under 70, while the third produced a score of 73. The prosecution successfully argued that the third score was the only valid one, and Prieto was sentenced to death. However, a similar law in Florida, which used IQ as the only determination of a person’s intellectual capacity, was struck down, with the ruling declaring that intellectual capacity “is a condition, not a number” and questioning the validity of an IQ test to determine overall mental capacity.

With all his appeal options exhausted, a gubernatorial pardon is Alfredo Prieto’s only chance at justice. Sign the petition and urge Governor McAuliffe to pardon Alfredo Prieto.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor McAuliffe,

Murder is among the gravest offenses one person can commit against another, and I believe that our legal system should appropriately address the seriousness of that crime. However, I also believe in the constitutional ideals of liberty and justice for all, which is why I implore you to issue a gubernatorial pardon for Alfredo Prieto, who has been sentenced to death for the murders of Rachael A. Raver and Warren H. Fulton III.

Prieto has an intellectual disability that disqualifies him from being eligible for execution. According to Virginia law at the time of his trial, “intellectual disability” was defined as having an IQ below 70. Prieto took three IQ tests, two of which produced scores that defined him as intellectually impaired. On the third test, however, he scored a 73, which the prosecution successfully argued was the only valid score.

There are several problems with this situation. First of all, the Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that intellectually disabled people cannot be sentenced to capital punishment. Second, a Florida law similar to Virginia’s was struck down as unconstitutional in Hall v. Florida, which ruled that IQ alone is not a sufficient determination of one’s intellectual capability.

Of course, there is no question that Prieto has committed a terrible, inhumane act. Justice must be served. However, the Constitution guarantees rights to everyone living in the U.S.–not just likeable or innocent people. Twisting the definition of constitutionality is a slippery slope, and it must not begin here. Please commute Alfredo Prieto’s sentence.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Joe Gratz

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