Death Penalty:Texas Goes “Rogue” and Kills an Intellectually Disabled Man

Today is another sad day for justice in Texas. Texas’ justice system  has  once again blood on its hands.  On Tuesday August 17, the State of Texas has killed again. This time it is Marvin Wilson, a 54-year-old man. Wilson had an I.Q of 61 which made him intellectually disabled. The State of Texas recognized in its less than sensitive legal lingo that Wilson was “mentally retarded”. But the State just “didn’t believe that Wilson was ‘retarded enough’ not to face capital punishment.

The execution today is in flagrant and total breech of a 2002 Supreme Court ruling – Atkins Versus Virginia- which clearly established that “the mentally retarded should be categorically excluded from the death penalty”. Many were hoping that the Supreme Court would intervene to prevent Marvin Wilson’s execution, but they declined to do so. Marvin Wilson’s lawyer made the following emotional statement after the execution.

“We are gravely disappointed and profoundly saddened that the United States Supreme Court has refused to intervene to prevent tonight’s execution of Marvin Wilson who has an I.Q of 61, placing him below the first percentage of human intelligence. Ten years ago, the Supreme Court categorically banned states from executing people with mental retardation. That neither the Court, nor state officials have stopped this execution is not only a shocking failure of a once promising constitutional commitment, it is also a reminder that as a society, we haven’t come quite that far in understanding how so many of those around us live with intellectual disabilities.”

The human rights and death penalty abolitionist organization Amnesty International took the argument a step further by calling Texas a “rogue State”, and the execution of Wilson “highly disturbing” on a constitutional stand point in regard to the Supreme Court refusal to act.

“The state of Texas never should have scheduled that execution at all. And it is highly disturbing that the Supreme Court has refused to rein in the State’s egregious behavior, ignoring its own ruling that someone with mental retardation should never be executed. The Texas death penalty, like all capital punishment, violates basic human rights,” said Laura Moye from Amnesty International USA.

Editor’s Note: All photographs by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.


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