Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Court Decisions: Prosecutors waive death penalty correctly in two Atkins MR/ID cases

A couple of recent Atkins cases where the state agreed to waive death because the defendant was ID.  It is nice to see the prosecutors willing to admit that someone is MR/ID when it is clear.  There is hope for correct implementation for Atkins cases.  Thanks to Kevin Foley for alerting me to these updates.

Oregon murder defendant, James Demetri Davenport, will not face death. According to the March 20th Statesman Journal, "Marion County prosecutors dropped plans to seek the death penalty against Davenport after his mental disability was confirmed by separate evaluations performed by experts hired by defense lawyers and the prosecution, said Matt Kemmy, a deputy district attorney."

Arkansas, defendant Normal Brandon Dewayne Johnson, will also not face the death penalty. According to the March 13th Arkansas Democate Gazette,  " Prosecutors on Thursday dropped their plans to seek the death penalty against a 22-year-old Little Rock man accused in a string of armed holdups and shootings that left three men dead, including a university instructor, after doctors determined him to be mentally retarded.  "Arkansas law and U.S. Supreme Court precedent bar the execution of mentally retarded defendants whose IQs are 65 or below. Testing at the State Hospital in Little Rock measured Brandon Dewayne Johnson's IQ at 55, according to a mental health evaluation filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court on Tuesday."

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