Documents Show that Texas Failed to Disclose Evidence that Man Facing Imminent Execution has Mental Retardation, According to Attorneys
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Will Be Asked Today to Reconsider Clemency for Robert Campbell Based on New Evidence of Low I.Q. Test Scores that Were in the State’s Possession But Never Shared with Campbell’s Lawyers
(Austin, Texas, May 12, 2014) – Today, based on new information and evidence only recently uncovered in state files indicating that Robert Campbell is a person with mental retardation, and therefore ineligible for execution, attorneys will ask the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider its recommendation against clemency for Mr. Campbell. Mr. Campbell is scheduled to be executed in Texas on Tuesday, May 13, 2104 at 6 p.m. CT.
“It is an outrage that the State of Texas itself has worked to frustrate Mr. Campbell’s attempts to obtain any fair consideration of evidence of his intellectual disability,” said Robert C. Owen, an attorney for Mr. Campbell. “State officials affirmatively misled Mr. Campbell’s lawyers when they said they had no records of IQ testing of Mr. Campbell from his time on death row. That was a lie. They had such test results, and those results placed Mr. Campbell squarely in the range for a diagnosis of mental retardation. Mr. Campbell now faces execution as a direct result of such shameful gamesmanship.”
According to Mr. Campbell’s attorneys, during prior state and federal judicial proceedings, the State of Texas failed to disclose two prior I.Q. test scores that tended to prove Mr. Campbell’s intellectual disability. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office did not provide counsel with public school records, including the results of a score of 68 from an I.Q. test administered to Mr. Campbell when he was a schoolchild.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice similarly failed to disclose that Mr. Campbell scored a 71 on an I.Q. test administered by a state-employed prison psychologist shortly after Mr. Campbell arrived on death row at age 19. Even more egregious is the fact that TDCJ flatly told Mr. Campbell’s attorney in 2003 that no such IQ tests existed for death row prisoners.
An I.Q. test score of 70 or below is generally accepted as “significantly subaverage intellectual functioning” necessary to diagnose intellectual disability. According to Mr. Campbell’s attorneys, every piece of substantial evidence supports this diagnosis, and a comprehensive evaluation by a highly qualified psychologist – a member of the Texas Board of Examiners of Psychologists, appointed to that post by Governor Rick Perry – has now confirmed it.
Mr. Campbell faces imminent execution despite the fact that no court has given meaningful consideration to extensive evidence that he is intellectually disabled. Unless the Board intervenes, Texas may execute a man who is mentally retarded, in violation of the Supreme Court’s now decade-old ban on such executions.
A powerful dissenting opinion issued last week by Judge Elsa Alcala of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) correctly called the evidence of Mr. Campbell’s mental retardation ‘compelling.’ She zeroed in on the fundamental unfairness of the court’s decision to reject his claim – the reason why this evidence was not available in 2003, when the CCA first turned away Mr. Campbell’s mental retardation claim.
In her dissent, Judge Alcala states, “It would be unjust to penalize [Mr. Campbell] for not uncovering such a falsehood previously, when he had no basis to believe that a falsehood had been conveyed to him. . . . This Court should not base its decisions that determine whether a person will live or be executed based on misinformation or wholly inadequate information.”
Here is the link to Mr. Campbell’s habeas petition:
Here is the link to the CCA ruling and dissent:
Mr. Campbell’s attorneys also plan to appeal directly to Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has the authority to issue a one-time, 30-day stay of execution.