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View Diary: Man with 51 IQ held for 30 years without proper trial (79 comments)

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  •  And society is served how by holding him? nt (9+ / 0-)

    "I feel like I'm still waiting to meet my true self. I'm assuming it's gonna be in a dark alley and there's gonna be a fight." ---Rachel Maddow

    by never forget 2000 on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 08:51:06 PM PST

    •  Well, I'm just playing devil's advocate here (0+ / 0-)

      because I agree this is a travesty, but....:

      What if he actually did the murders and as a result of his low IQ (and possibly other factors we don't know about), he is a danger to the public because he might murder again without really understanding what he is doing?

      Again, I'm not arguing you can hold a non-convicted man in prison because you feel like it, but as far as how society is served, there may be an answer to that question, outside procedural legal matters.  

      It is possible that keeping him in prison prevented other murders.  Not that it is ever right to keep unconvicted people in prison.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 10:44:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We don't use cognitive disability (10+ / 0-)

        -- the assumption that someone doesn't understand what they might do -- to lock up people, YM.

        I understand you're playing devil's advocate, but intellectual capacity and moral/ethical capacity are two completely separate things.

        I don't believe it's the goal of Americans (other than the Texas penal system) to lock up people who can't legally form intent anyhow. We stopped institutionalizing developmentally disabled and cognitively impaired individuals decades ago.

        Even if this man does pose a danger, putting him into a maximum security prison with hardened criminals of average intelligence sets him up to be victimized. He does have a constitutional right protecting him from such unusual punishment.

        No matter how you slice it, this situation is extraordinarily troubling.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 11:14:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree. And I'm not arguing that. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          grover

          But if he did do this horrible crime, regardless of the legal status (which AdamB has pointed out is somewhat confusing), then it has not been possible for him to commit other crimes.

          I don't mean to state that mental capacity has to do with moral capacity.  At the same time, there are people who do not understand the impact of their actions.

          I personally don't know enough about this person or case, but IF he did actually commit this horrible murder, he seems to be a dangerous person.

          The key is that the rules of justice must be followed and it seems clear that neither the rules nor the spirit nor the letter of the law has been followed.  

          That is an injustice.  The whole thing is disturbing.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 09:06:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Criminals routinely freed on 'technicalities' (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Adam B, YucatanMan

            which is an ugly word, IMHO. Either we are a people of laws or we are not.

            Even if he had normal cognition, the ignoring of a deliberate order for re-trial for these years merits his release. He has been deprived of his black letter Constitutional rights--not a trivial matter or a technicality.

            If he were to kill a loved one, of course I would be angry. But your rights, my rights are not to be parceled out like a favor from the king.

            "I feel like I'm still waiting to meet my true self. I'm assuming it's gonna be in a dark alley and there's gonna be a fight." ---Rachel Maddow

            by never forget 2000 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:22:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well, he is probably guilty. . . (0+ / 0-)

      The original objection was that one juror was improperly excluded because of her opposition to the death penalty. It's fairly unlikely that one juror would affect the result during the guilt phase (and he only had a constitutional right to a new sentencing verdict, his right to a new trial arose under Texas law). And he would have been risking a new death sentence by demanding a new trial (the ban on executing the mentally retarded is pretty recent).

      But that's not to say that the State's behavior was anything other than excusable.  

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