The US Supreme Court announced today that they will hear the appeal of Bobby Moore, currently awaiting execution on death row in Texas. Their decision follows the submission of an amicus brief in support of Mr Moore’s case, signed by international bar associations including the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales. Bobby’s case raises crucial questions about the role of mental disability in death penalty prosecutions: he has spent 35 years on death row despite being found to be intellectually disabled.
In 2002, the Supreme Court prohibited the execution of such defendants (Virginia v. Atkins); in 2014, they prohibited states from using restrictive test scores to determine defendants’ mental capacity (Hall v. Florida). Despite this, The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals originally agreed with prosecutors’ arguments that a set of standards from 1992 should be used when assessing whether or not Mr Moore should be put to death. Moore’s lawyers, backed by human rights organisations including BHRC, argue that the use of outdated standards violates the Constitution.
(Image credit: Phil Roeder via flickr)