Last week the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, "Execution warrants signed for two killers." It was written by Bill Rankin.
Executions were set Tuesday for two condemned Georgia inmates — Warren Hill, who killed a fellow prisoner, and Andrew Cook, who fatally shot two Mercer University students.
Hill’s execution is scheduled to be carried out Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. and Cook’s is set for Feb. 21 at 7 p.m., the Department of Corrections said. Both executions will be conducted at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.
The last Georgia inmate to be executed was Troy Anthony Davis, who was put to death Sept. 21, 2011, for the killing of a Savannah police officer.
Hill’s execution had been scheduled last July. But with two hours to spare, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a stay to determine whether Corrections should have followed the state Administrative Procedure Act, which allows for public comment, when it replaced its three-drug execution cocktail with one drug, pentobarbital.
On Monday, the court found that Corrections followed proper procedure when making the switch. In that ruling, the justices lifted its stay of Hill’s execution.
Eric Jacobson, the executive director of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, writes, "The Supreme Court Must Stop the Execution of Warren Hill," for Huffington Post.
On February 19, 2013, Georgia plans to execute Warren Hill, a man with an intellectual disability. Mr. Hill has exhausted his appeals. The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency and has declined to give Mr. Hill another audience.
The United States Supreme Court should intervene in this case to ensure that the protection they have granted for the "mentally retarded" against the death penalty is realized. If the court does not act, a man with an undisputed intellectual disability will be unconstitutionally put to death next week.
As the Executive Director of Georgia's Council on Developmental Disabilities, I have strongly advocated for state and federal legislation that protects our nation's most vulnerable citizens. Our organization, and those like us across the country have supported many laws, including those that protect people with intellectual disabilities from execution. This supports the position of the United States Supreme Court in its landmark 2002 Atkins v Virginia ruling, noting that people with intellectual disabilities are less culpable for their actions and are at greater risk for wrongful execution.
The protections that exist under the law for people with intellectual disability are vitally important to our democracy. People with intellectual disability deserve to live as full citizens of this country and state, protected by laws designed to recognize our diversity and uphold our basic rights, despite our differences. We, in Georgia will continue to fight to bring our state into alignment with other states by working with policy makers to change the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. In the meantime, the United States Supreme Court must stop the execution of Warren Hill.
"Georgia’s Plan to Execute Retarded Man Raises Moral Questions," is by Imani Jackson at Politics 365.
The state of Georgia has rescheduled the execution of a mentally handicapped inmate for February 19. Warren Lee Hill Jr. was scheduled for execution last summer; however, the Georgia Department of Corrections changed the lethal injection process and delayed his execution.
The same day that the lethal injection protocol was examined, a petition for considering Hill’s mental retardation, was denied, despite his IQ of 70.
Hill’s attorney, Brian Kammer, told Politic365 that he wants the courts, the department of corrections and the clemency board “to err on the side of humaneness and mercy” in cases similar to Hill’s.
Think Progress posts, "Georgia Will Execute An Intellectually Disabled Man Next Week Unless The Supreme Court Intervenes," by Nicole Flatow.
While a series of procedural rulings have delayed execution for Warren Lee Hill, he faces imminent capital punishment by the state of Georgia a week from tomorrow, in spite of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that says executing the severely mentally disabled is unconstitutional. Hill, who was deemed “mentally retarded” at trial (an unfortunate legal term), has exhausted his appeals, and only U.S. Supreme Court action can stop his execution this time.
Among those who have advocated for Hill’s clemency are several jurors from Hill’s trial, disability groups, and President Jimmy Carter. Even the victim’s family has submitted an affidavit stating that they prefer clemency.
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.