"Lawyers argue Druery unfit for execution," is the Bryan-College Eagle report written by Maggie Kiely.
With 20 days remaining until his execution date, attorneys representing Marcus Druery, a 32-year-old Texas death row inmate from Bryan, filed a motion arguing their client is incompetent to be executed based on his inability to rationally understand his punishment.
Druery was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 2003 for the killing of 20-year-old Skyyler Browne on Halloween 2002.
Along with the incompetency motion, Druery’s lawyers — Kate Black and Greg Wiercioch with the Texas Defender Service — filed several other documents last week, including a motion to withdraw the execution date and a request for a competency hearing.
The motions are set to be reviewed on July 24 by Judge J.D. Langley of the 85th District Court.
In the 36-page document Black and Wiercioch submitted outlining why Druery is incompetent and therefore unfit for execution under federal law, the attorneys provided a timeline describing the deterioration of his mental health, which they argue started within a year of his arrival on Death Row at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston.
By January 2006, Druery was starting to hear things and in March 2009 he had a “psychotic break” that required him to be transferred to the psychiatric unit, according to the document.
In November 2009, he was sent back to the psychiatric unit against his will where doctors determined he was suffering from “auditory hallucinations” and diagnosed him as schizophrenic.
In reviewing prison staff records, Druery’s attorneys found examples of comments the inmate made that indicated he didn’t understand why he was on Death Row.
"Court Questions Constitutionality of Upcoming Texas Execution," is Peter Malof's post at Texas News Service.
The scheduled Texas execution - just two weeks away, on Aug. 1 - of convicted murderer Marcus Druery is unconstitutional because he is mentally incompetent. That is according to attorneys who have asked a state district court to delay his death. While delay requests are common in capital punishment cases, concern over Druery's sanity by his former lawyers and prison officials prompted Judge J.D. Langley to appoint expert counsel to request a competency hearing.
Texas Defender Service Kate Black filed the motion. She cites the findings of a psychologist who examined Druery in May.
"His delusional ideas so pervade his understanding of his case that he no longer understands that it was him who committed the crime, and that he's the one who has to suffer the punishment."
While the state has acknowledged that Druery suffers from delusions, schizophrenia, "thought broadcasting" and auditory hallucinations, Department of Criminal Justice officials have yet to respond to the question of whether his medical condition meets the legal definition of insanity.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that executing the insane violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The high court later expanded that ruling, saying that some justifications for the death penalty - such as retribution for victims' families - are not valid when criminals cannot comprehend them.
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.