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Texas executes mentally impaired inmate.

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A Texas man convicted of killing a police informant has been executed after the US Supreme Court rejected arguments that he was too mentally impaired to qualify for the death penalty.

Marvin Wilson, 54, was pronounced dead late on Tuesday, 14 minutes after his lethal injection began at the state prison in Huntsville.

Beaumont.

Wilson's lawyers had argued that he should have been ineligible for capital punishment because of his low IQ.

They cited a US Supreme Court ruling that banned capital punishment for the mentally impaired.

In their appeal to the high court, the lawyera pointed to a psychological test conducted in 2004 that pegged Wilson's IQ at 61, below the generally accepted minimum competency standard of 70.

But lower courts agreed with state attorneys, who argued that Wilson's claim was based on a single test that may have been faulty, and that his mental impairment claim was not supported by other tests and assessments of him over the years.

Stay of execution

The Supreme Court denied his request for a stay of execution less than two hours before his lethal injection began.

Lee Kovarsky, lead defence lawyer, said he was "gravely disappointed and saddened'' by the ruling, calling it "outrageous that the state of Texas continues to utilise unscientific guidelines ... to determine which citizens with intellectual disability are exempt from execution".

Commenting on the case, Simon Whitaker, a clinical psychologist from the UK, told Al Jazeera earlier on Tuesday: "This is a miscarriage of justice, he [Wilson] would have the same reasoning powers of a five-year-old child, if a five-year-old child killed someone we would not execute them in part.

"Texas courts have judged Wilson as not mentally retarded - even though psychologists measured his IQ in the bottom one percentile, about equal to that of an average five-year-old child.

"With his diagnosis he cannot make rational decisions, there will be a clear problem for him to think things through," said Whitaker.

Shot in the head

Wilson was convicted of murdering 21-year-old Jerry Williams in November 1992, several days after police seized 24 grammes of cocaine from Wilson's apartment and arrested him.

Witnesses testified that Wilson and another man, Andrew Lewis, beat Williams outside of a convenience store in Beaumont, about 128km east of Houston.

Wilson, who was free on bond, accused Williams of snitching on him about the drugs, they said.

Witnesses said Wilson and Lewis then abducted Williams, and neighbourhood residents said they heard a gunshot a short time later.

The next day, Williams was found dead on the side of a road, wearing only socks, severely beaten and shot in the head and neck at close range.

'Skirting the ban'

The Supreme Court issued a ruling in 2002 outlawing the execution of the mentally impaired, but left it to states to determine what constitutes mental impairment.

Kovarsky argued that Texas is trying to skirt the ban by altering the generally accepted definitions of mental impairment to the point where gaining relief for an inmate is "virtually unobtainable".

State attorneys say the court left it to states to develop appropriate standards for enforcing the ban and that Texas chose to incorporate a number of factors besides an inmate's IQ, including the inmate's adaptive behaviour and functioning.

Edward Marshall, a Texas assistant attorney general, said records show Wilson habitually gave less than full effort and "was manipulative and deceitful when it suited his interest'', and that the state considered his ability to show personal independence and social responsibility in making its determinations.

Laura Moye, director of Amnesty International's US death penalty abolition campaign, told Al Jazeera that her group was "disturbed and disappointed" by the failure of the Supreme Court to intervene in Wilson's case.

"We're not saying he shouldn't have been held responsible for his part in a terrible crime, but that it's an egregious act in a country that prides itself on its human rights record to put to death a man such as this one," Moye said hours after Wilson was executed.

"There are important human rights standards that the United States ought to adhere to, particularly because it’s enshrined in our constitution that there are certain people who shouldn't face execution."

Texas is one of 33 states, along with the federal government, which still maintains the death penalty. A recent poll indicated more than 70 per cent of Texans approve of capital punishment for murder.

http://www.aljazeera.com/video/americas/2012/08/201287234346526615.html

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Not surprising really in the least...when you're scheduled for execution, not much can save you anymore, except for a gubernatorial pardon...which is almost impossible to get...doesn't matter how mentally unbalanced you are, or how low your IQ is. However, this is the first time I've heard of that defense..."his IQ is too low, he shouldn't be executed"... :huh: and low IQ doesn't mean you're mentally impaired...it just means you're a numbskull...and being a numbskull is not a reason to stay an execution.

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The answer to murder is state sanctioned murder. Brilliant.

One Year After The Breivik Massacre, Norway Continues To Fight Terrorism With Democracy, Openness And Love

from the everyone-else-in-the-world-take-notes dept

It's been a little over a year since Anders Breivik committed the greatest act of terrorism in Norway's history. The response to the horrific violence was completely unexpected. In a world where most countries would consider drafting major legislation and beefing up security,Norway's response seemed almost out-of-touch with the "real world."

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg pledged to do everything to ensure the country's core values were not undermined. "The Norwegian response to violence is more democracy, more openness and greater political participation," he said.

It's a pretty much unprecedented statement. One needs to look no further than the US government's reaction to the 9/11 tragedy to see an example of the standard M.O. Starting with the PATRIOT Act, the US government quickly turned the country into an echo chamber that subscribes to a culture of fear. This has allowed various government entities to insinuate themselves into nearly every aspect of Americans' lives at the expense of civil liberties and privacy.

One year down the road in Norway is a completely different story. As was pledged by Stoltenberg, the Norwegians have pushed forward with more openness and democracy. (via)

There have been no changes to the law to increase the powers of the police and security services, terrorism legislation remains the same and there have been no special provisions made for the trial of suspected terrorists. On the streets of Oslo, CCTV cameras are still a comparatively rare sight and the police can only carry weapons after getting special permission. Even the gate leading to the parliament building in the heart of Oslo remains open and unguarded.

"It is still easy to get access to parliament and we hope it will stay that way, " said Lise Christoffersen, a Labour party MP.

No one's rights were eroded, including the man at the center of the tragedy, Anders Breivik. He was treated no differently than any other prisoner and was given five days in court to tell his side of the story and lay out his ideas and motivations. Many critics believe this sort of unchallenged testimony would allow Breivik to glorify his actions and push his agenda, which they feared would inspire copycat acts of violence. Instead of falling prey to this mindset, officials felt that Breivik would do more harm to his own ideology by speaking openly than by being forced to sit quietly as an appointed mouthpiece spoke for him.

Cato Shiotz, a senior criminal lawyer, says having an open trial has enabled the Norwegian people to make their own informed judgement about Breivik.

"I think Breivik has done more harm to the radical right than he has benefited them," said Mr Shiotz. "His ideas now have less support than ever before."

Norway wants to combat terrorism in a new way. Rather than reacting to a terrorist act with draconian laws and increased security and surveillance, the country has opted to take the high ground and simply be "better" than their enemies. Many countries make statements to this effect, but most make the mistake of confusing a hardline "we don't negotiate with terrorists" stance with "taking the high road." Norway makes no such error.

"The only way to really combat terror is to show that we are better than them," says Jan Egeland, a former official in the Norwegian foreign ministry and now deputy head of Human Rights Watch.

"Their (the terrorists') whole point is to create shock and fear and get us to leave our liberal values…and lure us over to their shadowy part of the playing field… we should not let them win."

Unsurprisingly, Norway is not impressed with the US government's response to terrorism.

Mr Egeland is highly critical of how other countries, particularly the United States, have dealt with the terrorist threats they face, arguing that methods such as extraordinary rendition, the creation of the special prison for terrorist suspects in Guantanamo and the sanctioning of what is generally viewed as torture, have all been counter-productive.

"The whole (US) struggle against terror lost the moral high ground, You could see how public opinion was lost in Turkey, in Jordan, in moderate countries all over the Middle East," he said.

As the article points out, Breivik acted alone, not as part of a larger network. While a large network does change the dynamic of the threat, it hardly seems to justify the assumption that an isolated incident is an "act of war." Even worse, this assumption has led the US into a state of perpetual war against unseen, unnamed enemies with only the barest of threads holding the factions together. While Egeland insists that Norway wouldn't fall into the same pattern the US did post-9/11, he admits that he can't be certain the country would have "stood the test" as well as it has the Breivik massacre, if it was instead faced with a murky enemy located outside the country.

But all in all, the Norwegian response is more likely to unite its citizens against abhorrent acts of terrorism than it is to drive a wedge between the government and the governed. Openness is something the US sorely lacks, and despite 11 years and a change of presidents, there seems to be very little improvement on the horizon. No government can guarantee the safety of its citizens against unforeseen attacks, but certainly a culture of openness, democracy and love is preferable to a culture of fear and reprisal, carried out in the name of protection.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120724/20363519819/one-year-after-breivik-massacre-norway-continues-to-fight-terrorism-with-democracy-openness-love.shtml

We have much to learn from out Scandinavian Earthicans.

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Bahhh you murder someone you should be executed imo. not like this guy was a retard just a moron cokehead who knew what he was doing

Wilson was convicted of murdering 21-year-old Jerry Williams in November 1992, several days after police seized 24 grammes of cocaine from Wilson's apartment and arrested him.

Witnesses testified that Wilson and another man, Andrew Lewis, beat Williams outside of a convenience store in Beaumont, about 128km east of Houston.

Wilson, who was free on bond, accused Williams of snitching on him about the drugs, they said.

Witnesses said Wilson and Lewis then abducted Williams, and neighbourhood residents said they heard a gunshot a short time later.

The next day, Williams was found dead on the side of a road, wearing only socks, severely beaten and shot in the head and neck at close range.[/b]

what sickens me is people like that Batman movie killer and the gabby gifford shooter will get to live.

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What does how dumb you are have to do with punishment? Shouldn't it be the same for everyone? Isn't that what justice is?

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"Did You Know Every Time a Retarded Person is Executed an Angel Gets It's Wings?" -- David Cross

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Isn't there a death penalty in the state of Colorado?

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Kill someone in Texas and they'll kill you back

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Kill someone in Texas and they'll kill you back

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It's a shame that some people have these problems which allow them to commit murder. The point to me is if they can't function safely in our society without killing someone, they need to be put down. Most killers are probably not 'sane' I'm not sure why they are allowed to walk away because of it. And a dog only needs to attack someone before its euthanized. We are just animals too.

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It's a shame that some people have these problems which allow them to commit murder. The point to me is if they can't function safely in our society without killing someone, they need to be put down. Most killers are probably not 'sane' I'm not sure why they are allowed to walk away because of it. And a dog only needs to attack someone before its euthanized. We are just animals too.

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I dont see how killing a mentally impaired individual is any more cruel then killing a guy with average intelligence.

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Because putting them down will bring the person they killed back. It'll make us feel good too, I bet.

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