Miami Herald Columnist and best selling author Carl Hiaasen writes, "Florida’s IQ exam fails test of justice."
For 35 years, Florida has been trying to execute Freddie Lee Hall, who is mentally disabled and has been his whole life.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the state’s solicitor general argue that the execution should go forward because Hall scored too high on IQ tests to be spared from the death penalty.
The cutoff in Florida is 70 points. Hall’s lowest score was 71.
There’s not a credible expert in the field of learning disabilities who doesn’t acknowledge a margin of error in IQ testing, but Florida is one of nine states that set a rigid numerical bar.
The result is a morbid lottery that once again lays bare the gross malfunction of capital punishment laws.
Earlier coverage of Hall v. Florida 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 on the website. More on Atkins v. Virginia, the Supreme Court's 2002 ruling banning the execution of those with mental retardation, is via Oyez.
Related posts are in the mental retardation category index.