Friday, March 31, 2023

Play

Donald Trump indicted by Manhattan grand jury, Georgia campaign fights to reopen local hospitals, and New Mexico creates first-ever $100M conservation fund.

Play

Former President Donald Trump is indicted by Manhattan's district attorney, House Republicans take aim at renewables in new energy bill and House Dems introduce the Women's Protection Health Act.

Play

Small towns respond to a hidden housing and homelessness crisis, a new national weather prediction system will help close the gap between urban and rural forecasting, and more rural communities are eligible for a design project to boost economic development.

Court Questions Constitutionality of Upcoming Texas Execution

Play

Monday, July 16, 2012   

HOUSTON - The scheduled Texas execution - just two weeks away, on Aug. 1 - of convicted murderer Marcus Druery is unconstitutional because he is mentally incompetent. That is according to attorneys who have asked a state district court to delay his death. While delay requests are common in capital punishment cases, concern over Druery's sanity by his former lawyers and prison officials prompted Judge J.D. Langley to appoint expert counsel to request a competency hearing.

Texas Defender Service Kate Black filed the motion. She cites the findings of a psychologist who examined Druery in May.

"His delusional ideas so pervade his understanding of his case that he no longer understands that it was him who committed the crime, and that he's the one who has to suffer the punishment."

While the state has acknowledged that Druery suffers from delusions, schizophrenia, "thought broadcasting" and auditory hallucinations, Department of Criminal Justice officials have yet to respond to the question of whether his medical condition meets the legal definition of insanity.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that executing the insane violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The high court later expanded that ruling, saying that some justifications for the death penalty - such as retribution for victims' families - are not valid when criminals cannot comprehend them.

Black says as long as Texas has a death penalty, it should be administered constitutionally.

"When you have an individual who is so psychotic that he no longer has an understanding of what it is he's being punished for, that lacks the purpose for which the death penalty was created."

She says this is not the only time Texas prosecutors have sought the death penalty against the mentally incompetent, although she thinks the Druery case is especially egregious.

"The state's own experts have diagnosed him as having paranoid and disorganized schizophrenia. He's been housed in the psychiatric unit. So, they're well aware of his irrationality, and yet have still sought an execution date in this case."

A preliminary hearing on July 24 will determine whether the court will allow a full competency investigation to proceed. Attorneys say they will file a similar motion in federal court if the state court rejects their request.

Information about the 2006 Supreme Court case that clarified the insanity definition, which was argued successfully by the Texas Defender Service, is available at http://bit.ly/PWzBRk.




get more stories like this via email

Parents, students and teachers are raising concerns over proposed education policies in the Sunshine State. (Pixabay)

Social Issues

Some students, parents and educators plan to rally to send a message to Gov. Ron DeSantis on April Fools' Day. The group of unions, parents and …


Health and Wellness

Small-business owners in North Carolina are reaching out to legislators for help, citing hospital mergers as one reason their health-care costs are …

Environment

A REASONS TO BE CHEERFFUL/SOLUTIONS JOURNALISM NETWORK/WISCONSIN NEWS CONNCECTION COLLABORATION Milwaukee is tied to a wave of freeway removals in th…


Initial money through the American Rescue Plan Act provided education funding to 140 school districts in Tennessee to support post-pandemic academic recovery, student mental health and schools' ability to reopen safely. (f11photo/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Tennesseans aren't the only ones mourning the tragic loss of three children and three adults at this week's shooting at Nashville's Covenant School…

Health and Wellness

Doctors in Iowa are studying the brains of babies to learn more about sleep patterns in adults and teens. The United Health Foundation reports one-…

While more than 3,500 people have been awarded the Medal of Honor since it was created by President Abraham Lincoln, only 65 of them are alive today. (The White House)

Social Issues

While National Medal of Honor Month is ending, plans to develop a museum and monument for the award are continuing. Numerous Medal of Honor …

Social Issues

Construction of the Medal of Honor Museum and Foundation is under way in Arlington, Texas - a place to pay tribute to those who've earned the …

Social Issues

Labor leaders in various industries recently celebrated the 85th anniversary of a federal law that laid the groundwork for registered apprenticeship p…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021