"Lawyers Argue Inmate Incompetent for Aug. 1 Execution," is Brandi Grissom's post at Texas Tribune, today. Here's the beginning:
Marcus Druery says that his cell on death row at Livingston's Polunsky Unit is wired. The wires, he believes, carry voices into his cell and transport his thoughts to other people. Prison staff members, he claims, have contaminated his food with feces, urine and insects.
Druery, 32, is scheduled to be executed Aug. 1 for the 2002 fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man in Brazos County. On Tuesday, his lawyers will ask a judge to appoint experts to examine the convicted murderer, who they argue is ineligible for execution because of his severe mental illness.
“He started to experience voices and hearing echoes in his cell and has deteriorated pretty quickly since arriving on death row,” said Kate Black, who represents Druery and is a staff attorney at the Texas Defender Service.
A spokeswoman for the Brazos County district attorney’s office declined to comment on the ongoing case, but said that the state would file a response to Druery’s motion before the hearing.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 in another Texas death penalty case, Panetti v. Quarterman, that it isn’t enough for prisoners to simply understand the fact that they will be executed and are being punished for a crime. The court ruled that inmates must have enough mental capacity to have “a rational understanding of it.”
At Tuesday's hearing, Druery’s lawyers will ask the judge to appoint two independent experts to evaluate his mental competency. In documents requesting the hearing, they wrote that Druery’s “psychotic disorder prevents a rational understanding of the connection between his crime and his punishment.”
Earlier coverage of Marcus Druery's case begins at the link
The Supreme Court established standards to assess whether severely mentally ill inmates are competent to be executed in a 1986 case, Ford v. Wainwright; more via Oyez. Related posts are in the competency and mental illness indexes.