Atkins v. Virginia execution intellectual disabilities Marvin Wilson mitigating evidence Texas U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Execution of Marvin Wilson‏

The State of Texas executed Marvin Wilson this evening, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant him a stay based on evidence of his intellectual disabilities.  Here’s a statement from his attorney:

Statement from Attorney for Marvin Wilson in Response to the Denial of a Stay of Execution by the U.S. Supreme Court

“We are gravely disappointed and profoundly saddened that the United States Supreme Court has refused to intervene to prevent tonight’s scheduled execution of Marvin Wilson, who has an I.Q. of 61, placing him below the first percentile of human intelligence. Ten years ago, this Court categorically barred states from executing people with mental retardation. Yet, tonight Texas will end the life of a man who was diagnosed with mental retardation by a court-appointed, board certified specialist.

“It is outrageous that the state of Texas continues to utilize unscientific guidelines, called the Briseño factors, to determine which citizens with intellectual disability are exempt from execution. The Briseño factors are not scientific tools, they are the decayed remainder of an uninformed stereotype that has been widely discredited by the nation’s leading groups on intellectual disability, including the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. That neither the courts nor state officials have stopped this execution is not only a shocking failure of a once-promising constitutional commitment, it is also a reminder that, as a society, we haven’t come quite that far in understanding how so many of those around us live with intellectual disabilities.”

-Lee Kovarsky, Attorney for Marvin Wilson

August 7, 2012


Marvin Wilson, 54, was sentenced to death for killing a police informant, Jerry Williams, in Beaumont two decades ago. His attorneys pointed to a psychological test that pegged his IQ at 61, below the threshold of 70 that would suggest he is mentally impaired. Lower courts agreed with state attorneys who questioned the test’s validity, however.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied Wilson’s request for a stay of execution less than two hours before his scheduled 6 p.m. lethal injection.

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