Stop Executions of the Mentally Impaired in Texas

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Target: Texas Legislature

Goal: Clearly define mental impairment in the judicial system so mentally disabled individuals are not executed

On August 7, the state of Texas executed mentally challenged Marvin Wilson. A 2002 Supreme Court ruling prohibits the execution of the mentally disabled. However, the ruling allows courts to use their own definitions of mental disability. Texas was therefore able to use unscientific evidence to consider Wilson eligible for execution. States should not be able to execute intellectually challenged individuals. Demand that the Texas Legislature create strict guidelines for determining mental disability in the court system.

According to his lawyer, Wilson fit the clinical definition of mental retardation. Wilson scored 61 on an IQ test, nine points below the minimum score for competency. He had elementary school-level language and math skills, and sucked his thumb throughout adulthood.

However, the state of Texas saw Wilson differently. Assistant attorney general Edward Marshall claimed that Wilson gave little effort on competency tests. Wilson was supposedly very manipulative and showed signs of personal independence. Marshall even used the fictional character Lennie Small from “Of Mice and Men” to justify Wilson’s execution. This kind of “evidence” should not be used to determine someone’s mental competence.

States should not be allowed to execute mentally disabled individuals. Demand that Texas clearly define what constitutes mental impairment in the judicial system.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Texas Legislature,

Please implement legislation that clearly defines mental impairment in the judicial system. A 2002 Supreme Court ruling prohibits the execution of the mentally disabled. However, the ruling allows courts to use their own definitions of mental disability. States can therefore use questionable evidence to execute the intellectually challenged. Mentally disabled individuals should not face the death penalty.

On August 7, Texas executed Marvin Wilson, a prisoner who fit the clinical definition of mental retardation. Wilson scored 61 on an IQ test, nine points below the minimum score for competency. He had elementary school level language and math skills, and sucked his thumb throughout adulthood.

However, the state of Texas argued differently. Using an attorney’s opinions and fictional literature, Texas declared Wilson to be mentally competent. This kind of “evidence” should not be used to determine someone’s mental competence.

States should not be allowed to execute mentally disabled individuals. Please create legislation that clearly defines what constitutes mental impairment in the judicial system.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. Daniela Bress says:

    Sorry, but if a mentally disabled person is able to murder as any others, he/she should also be punished like all the others.

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