Thursday, November 28, 2019

Ethnic adjustment abuses in forensic assessment of intellectual abilities. - PsycNET

Within the past few years, courts have been more open to accepting evidence of psychological research. For instance, in 2002, the United States Supreme Court, citing an American Psychological Association (APA) Amicus brief, declared that the execution of mentally retarded individuals was unconstitutional because it violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Between 2005 and 2012, the Supreme Court accepted APA briefs describing the limitations in neural development of adolescents and its relevance to sentencing. In 2013, the Court ruled that in assessing an individual's intelligence there must be a consideration of the standard error of measurement. All of this suggested a progressive movement in judicial recognition of psychological research. However, during the same time, many courts were allowing and accepting testimony in capital sentencing cases of so-called ethnic adjustment. Some psychologists were testifying that defendants who were from ethnic minority groups had IQ scores that were suppressed and that therefore their scores had to be "adjusted" upward to compensate for the suppression. However, these adjustments were based purely on clinical judgment and did not reflect any empirical studies. As a result, several of these individuals who had their IQ scores adjusted have been executed. This article will describe the case law surrounding this concept, ethical issues that it raises, and how a practitioner can provide useful consultation to attorneys who represent defendants in such cases. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

After Being Reversed Twice, Texas Appeals Court Takes Intellectually Disabled Prisoner Off Death Row

Atkins Court Decisions: A bunch to update from FL and OK

I have been WAYYYYYYYY behind in posting recent Atkins court decisions and related documents.  Here I post info regarding a number of cases, without comment.  Click on each to access PDF files.

Bowles (2019, FL)

Harris (2019, OK)

Smith (2019, OK)

Walls (2019, FL; one, two).  More info here.

Atkins Court Decision: TX CCA Commutes Bobby Moore’s Death Sentence in Intellectual Disability Case

After iterating through the courts for years, the Atkins case of Bobby Moore, which had the Texas Briseno factors as a core issue, has been settled.

Click here for news story.  Here is another news story link.