Thursday, May 29, 2014

Court Upholds Atkins Decision (Hall v. Florida)

A divided court doubled down on its 2002 Atkins decision, ruling that Florida cannot kill Freddie Lee Hall just because his IQ has sometimes passed an arbitrary mark. ~ Hall vs. Florida, The Atlantic, May 2014

From the National Coalition to Abolish Death Penalty:

Dear Mary,
Incredible news: This week the  U.S. Supreme Court dealt another blow to the death penalty in the United States with a landmark decision on capital punishment and intellectual disabilities. 
In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court decided that a Florida death penalty statute, which had been interpreted to permit some people with intellectual disabilities to be executed, violates “our Nation’s commitment to dignity and its duty to teach human decency as the mark of a civilized world.” 
“The Eighth Amendment’s protection of dignity reflects the Nation we have been, the Nation we are, and the Nation we aspire to be,” said Justice Kennedy. In their decision this week, the Court reaffirmed its ruling in Atkins v. Virginia, which held that the eighth amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment prohibited people with intellectual disabilities from being punished with death.
This is a powerful step towards ending capital punishment, during a critical moment for abolition. Death penalty states have attempted to continue their lethal injection experimentation on inmates, including inmates with harrowing medical issues, to no avail. 
Spread the word: We want to share this news far and wide. The more voices speaking out against the death penalty, the more powerful our message. 
Here's how you can help:
  • Share on Twitter: More Push Back on Capital Punishment; Supreme Court Rules Against Florida:  #HaltAllExecutions #90mStrong PLS RT
  • Share on Facebook: WOW! More Push Back on Capital Punishment; Supreme Court Rules Against Florida---great news, and next steps, for death penalty abolition: 
  • Share your story: Why do you oppose the death penalty? Share your thoughts at (Already shared your story? Get your friends involved! Share the link on Twitter and Facebook, and raise up more voices from the 90 million strong.) 
The 90 million people who oppose the death penalty are online, on the ground, nationwide, fighting for change. 
The world is watching. 
The time is now.  
Together, we can end capital punishment. 
Sam Cooper
Director of National Programs
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty