/Validity of mental test at heart of Scott death-case appeal

Validity of mental test at heart of Scott death-case appeal

Scott is being represented by Jason Davis, the Assistant Attorney General. “The problem we have with this case is that we cannot sanction the execution of someone who’s mentally retarded,” stated Chief Justice William Waller Jr. towards the end of Wednesday’s 90-minute hearing on Wall’s ruling. The state appealed. In 2004, a Bolivar County jury convicted Scott of the 1995 shooting death, 74-year old Richard Lee, during a robbery. In addition, he was convicted of the aggravated attack on Lee’s spouse. Scott was 18 years old at the time of his crimes. Although the Mississippi Supreme Court initially affirmed Scott’s conviction, the U.S. Supreme Court remanded it for a new sentence hearing by Walls. Scott’s lawyer, Jim Craig from New Orleans, stated Wednesday that his client would need to be an “evil genius” in order to score the exact same scores on the intellectual tests administered within hours. Scott was rated as mentally impaired by the tests. Davis claimed that the testing process was incorrect and could not be recognized in other jurisdictions. Years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that executions cannot be given to mentally retarded people. The state claims that Scott is lying about his mental condition. Walls believed this sufficient to overturn his 2014 death sentence. Many justices expressed concern Wednesday that legal and medical standards for mental retardation continue to change. Justices Jess Dickinson, Ann Lamar and Craig asked many questions about Davis and Craig’s ability to adjust to changing standards, particularly given the long time it takes to consider appeals. Waller stated that the court would review the issues and make a decision on whether to affirm Wall’s decision or remand it to the circuit court. Dickinson stated that the IQ testing in this case doesn’t seem to have been flawed. There are 47 Mississippi inmates who are currently awaiting death sentences. Many of them are just a matter of legal proceedings from receiving their lethal injections. The youngest inmate is 29 years old, and the oldest is 68. Twenty-six are of white descent, 26 are black, and one is of Asian descent. Six prisoners received lethal injections during Mississippi’s most recent execution, which took place at Parchman State Penitentiary. The six victims were executed in two separate events that occurred between February 8 and June 20 2012. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.