July 15, 2014
On May 27, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Hall v. Florida. The question in the case is whether the Florida scheme for identifying intellectually disabled defendants in capital cases violates Atkins v. Virginia. In an opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy, the Court held that the relevant Florida law, under which all further exploration of intellectual disability is foreclosed if a prisoner is deemed to have an IQ above 70, creates an unacceptable risk that persons with intellectual disability will be executed, and thus is unconstitutional. Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Alito filed a dissenting opinion, which Chief Justice Roberts, as well as Justices Scalia and Thomas, joined. The decision of the Supreme Court of Florida was reversed and the case remanded.
To discuss the case, we have Mr. Kent Scheidegger, who is the Legal Director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.