Hall v. Florida Impact: 20 Cases?
// Crime and Consequences Blog
How many cases will yesterday's decision in Hall v. Florida actually impact? Lizette Alvarez and John Schwartz have this article in the NYT estimating "10 to 20," citing anti-death-penalty law professor John Blume for that estimate. (The article doesn't identify Blume as an advocate for one side on this issue, but he is.) "The death row inmates in this category would generally have I.Q.'s of between 71 and 75. Inmates in that category should now be able to ask for a new hearing that would take into consideration other evidence and a broader range of I.Q. tests."
There are a couple of points to note here. First, it appears a prominent advocate for the other side implicitly agrees that Hall does not require reconsideration in cases where the inmate's test scores are above 75. My prior post and the comments to it discussed whether Hall might extend to murderers whose scores are consistently above 75. I don't think it does yet -- and apparently Blume agrees -- though the Court may still go there in the future.
Does everyone in the 71 to 75 twilight zone automatically get a new hearing? If that means evidentiary hearing, I don't think so. Hall himself, for example, put on the experts who testified to the same thing they would testify to after the Supreme Court's decision. I don't see any reason why the trial judge cannot enter a new decision on the same record, considering the margin of error as the Supreme Court directs. I expect his decision would be the same. The state might want a new evidentiary hearing to put on the evidence it didn't think was necessary before, but Hall has already had his shot.
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