University of Pittsburgh

David Harris on the Impact of Mental Deficiencies in a Torture/Murder Death Penalty Case

Publish Date/Time: 
May 23, 2011

Professor David Harris explained how claims of mental retardation by two defendants in a torture/murder death penalty case may influence the outcome.  Since the U.S. Supreme Court says that people with mental retardation cannot be subjected to the death penalty, claims regarding defendants' mental deficiencies can make all the difference.  "An IQ of 70 is often used to determine (a mental disability)...when someone is at a significant number above or below that," mental deficiency is not an issue, Professor Harris told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  "In cases where they are close to that number, we can have a legitimate disagreement."


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