Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1847834
 


 



And Death Shall Have No Dominion: How to Achieve the Categorical Exemption of Mentally Retarded Defendants from Execution


Amy Dillard


University of Baltimore - School of Law

March 1, 2011

University of Richmond Law Review, Vol. 45, No. 3, p. 961, March 2011
University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-10

Abstract:     
This article examines the Court’s categorical exclusion of mentally retarded defendants from execution and explores how trial courts should employ procedures to accomplish heightened reliability in the mental retardation determination; it maintains that if a mentally retarded defendant is subjected to a death sentence then the Atkins directive has been ignored. To satisfy the Atkins Court’s objective of protecting mentally retarded defendants from the “special risk of wrongful execution,” the article explores whether trial courts should engage in a unified, pre-trial competency assessment in all capital cases where the defendant asserts mental retardation as a bar to execution and how the ancient in favorem vitae doctrine could ensure fairness and protect defendants who may be at special risk “that the death penalty will be imposed in spite of factors which may call for a less severe penalty.”

Number of Pages in PDF File: 50

Keywords: capital punishment, criminal law, mental retardation, due process, death penalty, Atkins v. Virginia

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Date posted: May 22, 2011 ; Last revised: August 30, 2011

Suggested Citation

Dillard, Amy, And Death Shall Have No Dominion: How to Achieve the Categorical Exemption of Mentally Retarded Defendants from Execution (March 1, 2011). University of Richmond Law Review, Vol. 45, No. 3, p. 961, March 2011; University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-10. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1847834

Contact Information

Amy Dillard (Contact Author)
University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )
1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States
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