This undated photo made available by the Florida Department of Corrections shows inmate Freddie Lee Hall. Hall. The Supreme Court will hear an appeal on Monday, March 3, 2014 from Hall, a Florida death row inmate who claims he is protected from execution because he is mentally disabled. The case centers on how authorities determine who is eligible to be put to death, 12 years after the justices’ prohibited the execution of the mentally disabled. The court has until now left it to the states to set rules for judging who is mentally disabled. In Florida and a handful of other states, an intelligence test score higher than 70 means an inmate is not mentally disabled, even if other evidence indicates he is. Hall has scored above 70 on most of the IQ tests he has taken since 1968. (AP Photo/Florida Department of Corrections, HO)
Photo credit: The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court in 2002 barred the execution of mentally disabled inmates.
But until now, the court has left it up to the states to determine who is mentally disabled.
A new case is testing whether states can rely solely on the result of an intelligence test to conclude a death row inmate isn't mentally disabled — and therefore eligible to be executed — despite other evidence of mental deficits.
In arguments Monday, a Florida inmate is challenging that state's use of a rigid IQ cutoff to determine mental disability.
Florida is among the few states that use a threshold score of 70, as measured by IQ tests, to conclude an inmate is not mentally disabled, even if other evidence indicates he is.
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