Quantcast
Connect with us

Texas executes intellectually disabled killer Robert Ladd

Published

on

57-year-old man is second mentally impaired prisoner to die by lethal injection in US this week despite high court ban

Texas has executed an intellectually disabled prisoner despite a high court ban on putting mentally impaired prisoners to death, the second such violation of constitutional protections to occur in the US this week.

Robert Ladd, 57, died by lethal injection on Thursday evening. Under Texas’s unique – and widely ridiculed – definition of intellectual disability, he was deemed capable of being executed because he did not match the degree of mental impairment depicted in a character in a John Steinbeck novel.

The death of Ladd exposed a flaw in the normally stringent safeguards imposed by the federal courts on the death penalty states. Although the states are generally allowed to set their own standards, the US supreme court has ruled twice on the issue of intellectual disability in order to set the parameters of humane and civilised conduct.

In the rulings – in 2002 and last year – the high court banned executions of people with “mental retardation” on the grounds that they were a form of cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the eighth amendment. It also said that the death penalty states had to conform to standards set by medical science and not impose their own arbitrary definitions of mental disability.

ADVERTISEMENT

Yet this week two prisoners who were categorically found to be mentally impaired by numerous medical experts have been put to death. The first was in Georgia where Warren Hill, 54, was judicially killed on Tuesday .

Texas put Ladd to sleep by lethal injection having deemed him not to be sufficiently mentally impaired according to its bizarre criterion for the condition. Under what are known as “Briseno factors”, the state sets out the profile of an individual whom ordinary Texans would agree was intellectually disabled. It points to Lennie Small, the lumbering and childlike character in John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel Of Mice and Men, identifying him as the legal yardstick.

Ladd’s lawyer, Brian Stull of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that his client’s fate should not have depended “on a novella. Instead of sticking to the standards set by science, they refer to a character in Of Mice and Men.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Ladd was convicted of the 1996 murder of Vicki Ann Garner in east Texas. Previously, he had served 16 years of a 40-year prison sentence for murdering another woman and setting her Dallas apartment on fire, killing her two children.

Stull said that the two executions of mentally impaired prisoners in one week proved that “we are in the midst of a complete systems failure in terms of honouring the constitutional protections the supreme court ordered for intellectually disabled people”.

On Wednesday, the supreme court ordered a stay of execution in three pending cases in Oklahoma as a result of the court’s earlier decision to consider the use of the sedative midazolam in lethal injections. Midazolam has been linked to a spate of recent botched executions in Oklahoma, Arizona, Florida and Ohio.

ADVERTISEMENT

The review did not touch upon Texas’s procedures, as the state has chosen to use pentobarbital, a barbiturate it is believed to have acquired from a relatively unregulated compounding pharmacy.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Republican analyst says Trump is ‘threatened by’ being challenged by women: ‘It hurts his ego’

Published

on

According to one Republican commentator, President Donald Trump's decision to lash out at four Congresswomen of color stems from his inability to handle being challenged by women.

In a segment with MSNBC host Ali Velshi, Rina Shah, who runs Republican Women for Progress, said that she's been the target of racist attacks from Trump supporters ever since she announced she wouldn't support him.

"I believe that what this president is doing is fanning the flames," she said. "He cannot denounce white supremacy, white nationalism. This is a moment in which he could have kept his mouth shut. You know, this tit-for-tat with [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi (D-CA) and 'The Squad,' he didn’t need to engage in it. If I was advising the president, if I were one of his advisers, I would have said stay out of it. But he doesn't listen to anyone around him."

Continue Reading

Facebook

Mitt Romney blames democratic women for Trump’s racism: Their views ‘are not consistent with my experience’

Published

on

Little more than six months ago Senator-elect Mitt Romney (R-UT) promised voters he would "speak out" against President Donald Trump's racism. On Monday, Senator Mitt Romney blamed the targets of President Donald Trump's two-day racism fest for the President's own racism.

"I will speak out against significant statements or actions," by President Trump, "that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions," Romney said in a New Year's Day 2019 Washington Post op-ed.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Facebook needs ‘very high standard’ for Libra coin: Mnuchin

Published

on

Facebook will need to meet "a very high standard" before it moves ahead with its planned digital currency Libra, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

Mnuchin said US regulators have already expressed concerns to Facebook about the plan for a global cryptocurrency, noting that these kinds of virtual coins have in the past been associated with money laundering and illicit activities.

"Whether they're banks or non-banks, they're under the same regulatory environment," Mnuchin told reporters at the White House, adding that Facebook "will have to have a very high standard before they have access to the financial system."

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

close-image