Sunday, February 06, 2005

Litigating the death penalty by the numbers

Prof. Althouse has this interesting post which says, among other things, that the defendant Atkins, of the Atkins v. Virginia case, now scores a 75 on his IQ test, which the prosecutor says is high enough to pass for his execution to pass constitutional muster.

On Friday, the Richmond paper had this report about the case. Today, the NY Times has this story ("Inmate's Rising I.Q. Score Could Mean His Death," 2/6/05) (registration required)

Under Va. Code 19.2-264.3:1.1, "mentally retarded" means "a disability, originating before the age of 18 years, characterized concurrently by (i) significantly subaverage intellectual functioning as demonstrated by performance on a standardized measure of intellectual functioning administered in conformity with accepted professional practice, that is at least two standard deviations below the mean and (ii) significant limitations in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social and practical adaptive skills." Evidently, two standard deviations below the mean equals an IQ of 70.

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