BACKGROUND Daryl Atkins & William Jones Marijuana & Alcoholic Beverages Intoxicated while at store Kidnapped and robbed a “21-year-old, man Eric Nesbitt” Nesbitt was shot eight times in the “thorax, abdomen, arms, and legs”
BACKGROUND Surveillance cameras placed Atkins and Jones at the scene of the crime Both arrested Jones took a plea bargain for stating Atkins was the actual murderer
TRIAL February 1998, Atkins was convicted of “capital murder and robbery” in York County, Virginia Verdict was the death penalty Acquitted due to failure of instructions of the jury
RETRIAL Atkins stated that he is mentally retarded Second jury affirmed verdict
VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT (ATKINS ARGUMENTS) Atkins had an “IQ of 59” Death penalty constitutes cruel and unusual punishment Mind of an average nine year old IQ test revealed he suffered from a “mild” case of mental retardation In the “bottom 2%” of the adult people
VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT (COURT ARGUMENTS) Penry V. Lynaugh (1989) 492 U.S.302 Only to avoid death penalty American Psychiatric Association Upheld decision of lower court
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT Does the Eighth Amendment prohibit the execution of mentally retarded prisoners convicted of capital crimes? September 25, 2001 granted certiorari Gravity of the concerns expressed by the dissenters Due to the shift in the “past 13 years” on the view of the execution of mentally retarded individuals.
UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT Final vote: 6 to 3 Ruled in favor of the petitioner Atkins Reversed the judgment of the lower courts
JUSTICES (MAJORITY) Justice Stevens: executing mentally retarded criminals is equivalent to cruel and unusual punishment which is “prohibited” by the eighth amendment standards of decency has consequently changed
JUSTICES (DISSENTERS) Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia majority relied on “foreign laws, views of professional and religious organizations, and opinion polls” violated the eighth amendment, leads to increase in inmates alleging that they also have mental retardation Chief Justice Rehnquist
WORKS CITED Turner, Alison, and Diana Hess. "Street Law, Inc." Supreme Court Case Studies: By Topic. Street Law, Inc., 1972. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. Scott, MD, Charles L., and Joan Gerbasi, JD, MD B. Gerbasi, JD, MD. "Atkins v. Virginia: Execution of Mentally."The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 31.1 (2003): 101-05. Http://www.jaapl.org/content/31/1/101.full.pdf. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.Http://www.jaapl.org/content/31/1/101.full.pdf. Web. 19 Nov. 2013 Amazon. Daryl Atkins. Digital image. Amazon. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013 Bourg, Chris. Chief Justice Rehnquist. Digital image. Stanford, 22 Oct. 2008. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. Farlex. Justice Stevens. Digital image. Stevens, John Paul. Farlex, 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.