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SCOTUS Denies Hearn Stay

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The US Supreme Court has denied certiorari and a stay of execution in two petitions by Texas murderer Yokamon Hearn.  The orders are here and here.  No dissent is noted.

USCA5 summarizes the crime in their opinion of January 30 this year:  "Hearn and three accomplices abducted Joseph Franklin Meziere from a self-service car wash in March 1998. They took Meziere's car and drove him to a remote location where Hearn killed Meziere by shooting him several times in the head at close range."

Hearn's lawyers claim he is retarded and therefore ineligible for execution under Atkins v. Virginia, but they have a small problem.  Hearn's various IQ tests have come in at 74, 82, 88, and 93.  The threshold for retardation is 70.

The margin of error of the test is (theoretically at least) 5, so a person with a score of 74 has a very small chance of having an actual IQ of 70 or below, but a 74 score alone establishes a strong probability that he is not retarded.  The range of scores in this case illustrate that the testing and scoring actually have a considerably broader range of error than the theoretical 5.  One source of error on a performance test such as this is that a person can score low simply by not trying hard.  High scores do not suffer from that problem.  You can fake low, but you can't fake high.

The Texas CCA rejected Hearn's lawyers' creative attempts to get around this clear indication he is not retarded.  Then they run to federal court seeking habeas relief.  Their argument that the state court's decision is "unreasonable," the standard set by Congress before the habeas court can interfere, is frivolous.

AP has this story, noting that Hearn has not challenged the state's switch to the one-drug method.

Update:  Corrie MacLaggan of Reuters has this story, quoting a TexDCJ spokesman saying that the single-drug execution "was carried out without incident."

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Final justice carried out. IIRC, Hearn litigated his MR claim for many years. A travesty that this execution was not carried out earlier.

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