"Inmate’s lawyer asks judge to stay execution," is the AP report by Kate Brumback, via the Marietta Daily Journal.
Warren Lee Hill is set to be executed Tuesday. His lawyer, Brian Kammer, on Friday filed a renewed application for a clemency hearing with the Board of Pardons and Paroles and a petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the Butts County Superior Court.
Both the board and the court denied similar requests in Hill’s case before his original execution date in July. The state Supreme Court ended up staying the execution then to give itself time to hear a legal challenge filed by Hill’s lawyers. The high court earlier this month ruled against that challenge, clearing the way for the execution.
In his filings Friday, Kammer includes sworn statements from the three doctors who examined Hill in 2000 and testified before the court that he was not mentally disabled. The doctors write in their new statements that they were rushed in their evaluation at the time and that they have acquired additional experience and there have been scientific developments in the intervening 12 years. All three reviewed facts and documents in the case and write that they now believe that Hill is mentally disabled.
Given that new evidence, Kammer asks the Board of Pardons and Paroles to stay the execution, reconsider its denial of clemency and commute Hill’s death sentence to life in prison without parole.
He asks the Butts County judge to grant a stay of execution and to grant habeas relief.
The article also notes that Hill's attorney has filed a stay motion with the U.S. Supreme Court over an issue with Georgia's lethal injection procedure.
The Atlantic posts, "In Georgia, Doctors Recant Testimony — But the Execution Will Go On," by Andrew Cohen.
Earlier this week, I wrote about Warren Lee Hill, the mentally retarded man who is scheduled to be executed next Tuesday in Georgia in defiance of the United States Supreme Court's 2002 decision in Atkins v. Virginia -- a ruling which declared that such executions violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "cruel and unusual" punishment. The case has been a dubious one for years. This week it got even more outrageous.
From a clemency request filed Thursday with the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, we now know that three of the state's experts who evaluated Hill in 2000 have just recanted their opinions about his mental status. This means that every doctor who has ever evaluated Hill since 1991, when he was given his first comprehensive evaluation, has concluded that he is mentally retarded -- and that no doctor who has ever evaluated him has concluded otherwise.
Despite this remarkable turn, and despite the fact that Hill's attorneys asked the Supreme Court days ago for a stay of execution, Hill remains just days away from being put to death by lethal injection because of an unconstitutional Georgia law, unreasonably applied against him because he has not yet met his burden of establishing his mental retardation beyond a reasonable doubt.
"Georgia lawyers rush to save 'mentally retarded' death row inmate," is by Ed Pilkington in the Guardian.
Lawyers are racing against the clock to save the life of a "mentally retarded" man in Georgia who is scheduled to be put to death on Tuesday despite a US supreme court ban on executing prisoners with learning disabilities.
The execution of Warren Hill at 7pm local time on 19 February would be the first completed death sentence in Georgia since that of Troy Davis. The 2011 judicial killing of Davis, in the wake of substantial evidence of his probable innocence, prompted an outpouring of disgust across America and the world.
Hill's impending death by lethal injection has so far failed to ignite the mass outrage that marked the Troy Davis killing, but close followers of the case protest that it would be equally disturbing and unconstitutional. Writing in the Guardian, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, has said that "the world community is again watching Georgia with great concern as it prepares to carry out another grotesque and unjust execution."
"Mentally disabled US man faces execution Tuesday," is the AFP filing.
A mentally handicapped man is to be put to death in the US state of Georgia on Tuesday, despite protests from human rights activists and mental health advocates calling the execution a miscarriage of justice.
Warren Hill, a 52-year-old African American, is reported to have an IQ of 70, putting him below the threshold for mental disability.
"There is no dispute among the experts that Mr Hill is mentally retarded," attorney Brian Kammer wrote in an appeal seeking leniency for his client.
"Because Mr Hill's execution would be a fundamental miscarriage of justice, this Court must stay Mr Hill's imminent execution and vacate his death sentence," he added in another appeal.
Human rights groups, as well as the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, have condemned the impending execution, and called on authorities to commute the sentence.
"The world community is again watching Georgia with great concern as it prepares to carry out another grotesque and unjust execution," wrote UN special rapporteur Christof Heyns in a recent editorial. "There is no sense and no honor in executing children, the insane and those who suffer from intellectual disability."
Earlier coverage of Warren Hill's case begins at the link.
As I often point out, mental retardation is now generally referred to as a developmental or intellectual disability. Because it has a specific meaning with respect to capital cases, I continue to use the older term.