Presentation on theme: "By: Nicholas DeJarnette. Title of the case: Atkins v. Virginia 536 U.S. 304 (2002) Plaintiff: Daryl Renard Atkins Defendant: The Commonwealth of."— Presentation transcript:
By: Nicholas DeJarnette
Title of the case: Atkins v. Virginia 536 U.S. 304 (2002) Plaintiff: Daryl Renard Atkins Defendant: The Commonwealth of Virginia
August 16,1996 Daryl Atkins and a friend, William Jones, abducted 21 year old Eric Nesbitt. The two men stole $60 from his wallet and drove him to an ATM to withdraw another $200.
The Atkins and Jones then took Nesbitt to a private location. Eric Nesbitt was then shot eight times. The two men were arrested and charged with first degree murder. The York County Circuit Court heard the case and found both men guilty. Atkins tired to convince the court that he was mentally retarded. Daryl Atkins was sentenced to death.
Atkins appealed the case to the Court of Appeals on the grounds that because he was mentally retarded he cannot be sentenced to death. He stated this violated his Eighth Amendment rights which prevents cruel and unusual punishment.
In a 5-4 majority, the court affirmed the decision of the lower court citing Penry v. Lynaugh 492 U.S. 302 (1989). In this case a man with the mental capacity of a seven year old was convicted and sentenced to death for murder.
The Supreme Court granted certiorari due to the gravity of the dissenters. Those who wrote a dissenting opinion argued well enough to convince the supreme court to hear the case.
In a 6-3 majority, the court overturned the decision saying that the execution of mentally retarded is a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Majority Side: Justice Steven, O’Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer Dissention side: Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justice Scalia and Thomas
Stevens wrote the majority opinion. Rehnquist and Scalia wrote separate dissenting opinions
Because his decision overturned a previous decision made by the Supreme Court, it shows that American ideals are changing and the court must keep up with the change. Justice Stevens stated, “Standards of decency are evolving which marks the progress of a maturing society.”
"Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002)." Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002). Web. 19 Nov "Atkins v. Virginia." Atkins V Virginia. Web. 19 Nov "Atkins v. Virginia." Atkins v. Virginia. Web. 19 Nov "Atkins v. Virginia." TheFreeDictionary.com. Web. 19 Nov ATKINS v. VIRGINIA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 19 November "PENRY v. LYNAUGH." Penry v. Lynaugh. Web. 19 Nov Scott, Charles L., MD, and Joan B. Gerbasi, MD, JD. "Atkins v. Virginia: Execution of Mentally Retarded Defendants Revisited." ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY 31 (2003): Web. 19 Nov