Court Rules on Mental Competency in Death Penalty Case

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that federal judges may not delay executions indefinitely on the chance that condemned prisoners will become mentally competent enough to help their court-appointed attorneys mount new appeals. “At some point, the state must be allowed to defend its judgment of conviction,” Clarence Thomas wrote for the unanimous court. The decision will hasten the end for two death row inmates, Arizona’s Ernest Gonzales and Ohio’s Sean Carter.