execution intellectual disabilities Texas

State of Texas Executes Milton Mathis

Last night, the State of Texas executed Milton Mathis for the 1998 murders of Travis Brown and Daniel Hibbard in Fort Bend County.  He was 19 years old at the time of the crime.  This was the sixth execution to take place in Texas this year, out of 23 nationwide.

Mathis was executed despite compelling evidence of his mental retardation, including IQ tests on which he scored as low as 62, well below the threshold for intellectual disabilities in most states.  In an op-ed that appeared in the Dallas Morning News (“Justice demands a review in Texas death penalty case,” June 17, 2011), former Texas Governor Mark White called for a federal review of the merits of his claim of mental retardation, noting that:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled almost a decade ago that the execution of those with mental retardation is unconstitutional. Unfortunately for Mathis, this ruling came weeks after his capital conviction was finalized. So Mathis has had to navigate the confusing labyrinth of state and federal law that govern legal claims after convictions in order to present the evidence of his mental retardation to a court. …

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene, as did the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.  Read more from the Houston Chronicle and the Huffington Post.


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