Warren Lee Hill a man with an IQ of 69, his lawyers contend he is mentally retarded, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on July 18, reported Reuters. Attorneys for the Georgia man argued to the state's pardons board last week that executing the two-time murderer would be unjust because of his limited mental capacity.
In 1988, Georgia became the first U.S. state to enact a law banning the execution of mentally retarded defendants. But Georgia has perhaps the toughest standard in the nation for defining mental retardation, requiring proof "beyond a reasonable doubt," Richard Dieter told Reuters.
"I don't know of any other state that puts the burden on the defendant to show (retardation) beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest standard that there is in the judicial system," he said.
Mental retardation is generally defined as having a score of 70 or below on intelligence tests, Dieter said. Hill scored 69 on one intelligence test and in the 70s on others, according to court records.
Hill's attorneys have challenged Georgia's law in the federal courts, saying the "beyond reasonable doubt" standard is overly strict and conflicts with a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Atkins v. Virginia that bans executing mentally retarded defendants.
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