Texas Executes Man with IQ of 61

Marvin Wilson, a Texas man convicted of killing a police informant two decades ago, was executed this week after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments that he was too mentally impaired to face the death penalty. Wilson’s lawyers used a 2004 test that pegged his IQ at 61, below the generally accepted minimum of 70. The Supreme Court outlawed execution of the mentally impaired in 2002, but left it to states to determine what constitutes impairment. According to the Associated Press, Texas chose to incorporate a number of factors besides IQ. The state argued that Wilson’s claim wasn't supported by other assessments. In April 2011, the Tennessee Supreme Court set new standards for defendants in this state.

In related news, the American Bar Association last week filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing that capital defendants should be entitled to stays in habeas proceedings if they are not competent to aid their lawyers. Read more about that in the ABA Journal