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Texas says Scott Panetti is sane enough to execute, and that is insane (for 19 reasons)

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via Texas Defender http://texasdefender.org/scott-panetti/

Texas plans to kill Scott Panetti Wednesday December 3rd for the murder of his in-laws. The state argues that the 58-year-old paranoid schizophrenic is sane enough to be executed. And that, ironically, is insane… or dishonest and cruel. The state reaffirmed its  commitment to not only capital punishment, but executing the mentally ill, in particular, on Tuesday, when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied yet another motion for a stay of execution for Panetti. Not that it matters to Texas, apparently, but the evidence of Panetti’s severe mental illness is overwhelming. His upcoming lethal injection is even more criminal given that his mental health history is well documented and goes back nearly thirty years! Let’s take a look at the evidence of not just Panetti’s mental illness, but the numerous ways the courts and the state have failed him.

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  1. Scott Panetti was first diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 20 at the Brook Army Medical Center, shortly after being honorably discharged from the Navy in 1978.
  2. Over the next 14 years leading up to the crime, Panetti was hospitalized thirteen times, both voluntarily and involuntarily, and his shizophrenia and paranoid schizophrenia were diagnosed again and again.
  3. The Social Secuirty Administration deemed that Panetti’s schizophrenia was so debilitating, it entitled him to government benefits in 1986.
  4. Panetti hallucinated that he killed the devil who was in his home, then washed the devil’s blood off the walls.
  5. On another occasion he buried his furniture and valuables because the devil was hiding in them.
  6. In 1992, his mental health was so bad, his wife took their daughter and moved in with her parents. She was able to get a restraining order but the authorities refused to involuntarily commit him or take away his guns, which she begged them to do.
  7. That same year, he woke up before dawn, shaved his head unevenly leaving patches of hair, went to his in-laws and shot them in front of his wife and three-year-old daughter. He took his wife and daughter to his bunkhouse before releasing them, washing off the blood, changing into a suit and then surrendering to the police.
  8. During his trial he fired his lawyers and the judge let him represent himself even as he entered a not guilty by reason of insanity plea.
  9. He called on over 200 witnesses, including Jesus Christ, The Pope, JFK and Anne Bankroft.
  10. He wore a purple cowboy suit, a cowboy hat, bandanas, and cowboy boots with spurs.
  11. When he asked the judge for a continuance to see his doctor and get his medication, the judge refused.
  12. During the trial Panetti pointed an invisible rifle at the jury, and recounted having committed the crime in the third person. He also explained that he had been under the control of “Sarge” an alter-ego mentioned in doctors’ notes as early as 1990.
  13. He wasn’t allowed to present his medical records in court because he had scribbled all over them so the prison guards, whom he believed were conspiring against him, couldn’t see them.
  14. During the sentencing phase of the trial, the prosecution called on  Dr. Grigson as a witness. He testified that unless Panetti was executed he would kill again. Grigson was expelled from the American Psychiatric Association that same year, and had already earned the nickname Dr Death, because he so frequently predicted the dangerous behavior of defendants he never examined in capital cases.
  15. His lawyers say his mental health has only deteriorated. He is delusional, hearing voices once again, and believes he is the father of Selena Gomez.
  16. He also believes that when Texas kills him next week it will be part of a conspiracy with the devil to stop him from preaching the gospel on death row.
  17. He believes a listening device has been implanted into one of his teeth.
  18. Scott Panetti’s life is so disposable, neither the District Attorney, who submitted the date of execution, nor the judge who signed it, informed Panetti’s counsel, which is the norm, especially in cases where the mental competence is in question. His co-counsel found out her client had a date of execution when she read it in the newspaper. Given that you only have  21 days to file an appeal, finding out after the fact is extremely damaging.
  19. His execution would be so heinous that a clemency letters have been signed by  former U.S. Representative Ron Paul; over 55 prominent Evangelical Christians and 7 retired and active Bishops from the United Methodist Church and other faith leaders; former Texas Governor Mark White, 10 Texas state legislators; nearly 30 former prosecutors and U.S. Attorneys General; Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation, the American Bar Association, and the European Union, which represents twenty-eight nations.

You can learn more about Panetti, watch this video, learn more about him and sign this change.org petition written by Panetti’s younger sister, Victoria.


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https://twitter.com/neal_katyal/status/1296448357821566976

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