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USCA5 Stays Texas Execution on Retardation/Nondisclosure Claim

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After the failed execution two weeks ago in Oklahoma, the usual voices called for a halt in executions in other states that have had no such problems.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected that claim yesterday in the case of Texas murderer Robert James Campbell.  The opinion is here.

Today the same court granted a stay of execution to allow Campbell to litigate his retardation claim.  Mark Berman has this story for the WaPo.

Campbell is able to litigate his Atkins claim this late because of nondisclosure by the state prison authorities of tests indicating retardation.  The court notes that its action is "[b]ecause of the unique circumstances of this case," so it is not an indication for other cases.

In its 1996 reform of habeas corpus law, Congress placed severe restrictions on the ability of inmates to file a second federal habeas petition after one has been rejected.  This is one of the very few cases found to meet the stringent criteria.

AP has some more info on the planned, but now cancelled, execution here.

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So it took 21 years to figure out if this guy was / is retarded? Count me as highly skeptical.

Wouldn't it make sense to undertake an IQ test / evaluation of all death row inmates well in advance of their respective execution dates so this issue is resolved one way or the other.

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