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Texas wastes no time executing man found not mentally impaired based on looking at a fictitious Steinbeck character

Aug 08, 2012 Texas wastes no time executing man found not mentally impaired based on looking at a fictitious Steinbeck character

(ORDER LIST: 567 U.S.)

TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2012

CERTIORARI DENIED

12-5349 WILSON, MARVIN L. V. THALER, DIR., TX DCJ (12A128) The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Scalia and by him referred to the Court is denied. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

The same night that the above cold words from the United States Supreme Court hit the page, Texas executed Marvin Wilson, whose mental impairment was hotly contested by the parties, because the Supreme Court prohibits executing people who are too mentally impaired, but SCOTUS gives wide leeway to the states to set standards for determining such impairment.

Here are some items on last night’s execution of Marvin Wilson:

Amnesty International says that to determine whether Wilson was mentally impaired, his jury was instructed with questions inpired by John Steinbeck fictitious character Lenny in Of Mice and Men:

The [Supreme Court’s refusal to stop Wilson’s execution] was made despite Wilson‘s lawyer‘s contention that Texas‘ stereotype-riddled set of questions to determine “mental retardation” in capital cases is, in fact, unconstitutional. These questions were inspired by Lennie Small, the mentally impaired ranch hand in John Steinbeck‘s Of Mice and Men. The American Association of Intellectual and Development Disabilities (AAIDD) has written that Texas‘ questions “…are based on false stereotypes about mental retardation that effectively exclude all but the most severely incapacitated.”

– Here is the Associated Press’s account of Marvin Wilson’s case, and the cold details of the murder for which he was convicted and of Wilson’s execution.

– A Houston Chronicle writer opposed to Wilson’s execution gives her take on the parties’ debate over whether he was too mentally impaired to be executed.

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