Monday, December 5, 2011

Atkins MR/ID Court Decision: Hill v Humphrey (GA; 2011; 11th Circuit Court) 2011)

Thanks to Kevin Foley for sending me the interesting Warren Lee Hill, Jr. V Carl Humphrey Atkins decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals .  Of interest is the length of the opinion (110 pages).  Next, this was en banc decision decided by 11 judges (not the usual 3).  Finally, there was only one major issue---whether Georgia's proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard is unconstitutional.  The majority said no.   Judge Rosemary Barkett's dissent was recommended reading to me (begins on page 66). She contends that the standard is so hard to meet, that those with mild ID/MR are sure to lose, even though they are ID.  "The state court’s decision, however, endorses the use of a standard of proof so high that it effectively limits the constitutional right protected in Atkins to only those who are severely or profoundly mentally retarded."  pg 70 The prior 2010 appeals decision can be found here. The current decision can be found here.