Attorneys for Robert Campbell Appeal to TX Governor Rick Perry to Grant Reprieve

For Immediate ReleaseMay 13, 2014

Contact: Kristin Houlé at or 512-441-1808 (office) or 512-552-5948 (cell) or Laura Burstein at or 202-626-6868 (o) or 202-669-3411 (c)

Governor Perry is Asked for 30-Day Reprieve for Robert Campbell,a Person with Mental Retardation Scheduled for Execution Tonight

State Wrongfully Withheld Evidence of Low I.Q

(Austin, Texas, May 13, 2014) – Today, attorneys for Robert James Campbell asked Texas Governor Rick Perry to issue a 30-day reprieve of execution to allow time for the Board of Pardons and Paroles to thoughtfully consider his application for commutation of his death sentence to life without parole on the ground that he is intellectually disabled and therefore constitutionally exempt from execution. The letter, which can be accessed here states:

“In public statements, Governor Perry, you have said that you “believe it is wrong to execute persons with mental retardation” and that you share “strong moral sentiment against executing the mentally retarded . . . with most Texans.”  See Office of the Governor Rick Perry, “(Speech) House Bill 236,” June 17, 2001 (  You have also maintained that ‘“we do not allow for the execution of the mentally retarded today in Texas.”’  Id.
On Monday, May 12, 2014, based on new information and evidence only recently uncovered in state files indicating that Mr. Campbell is a person with mental retardation, and therefore ineligible for execution, attorneys asked 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 today at 6 p.m. CT.

According to legal filings and in the stay request to Governor Perry, Mr. Campbell’s attorneys point out that 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 thatno 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 the letter from The Arc to Governor Perry:

Here is the link to the Request for Reconsideration to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles:

Here is the link to Mr. Campbell’s habeas petition:

Here is the link to the CCA ruling and dissent:

For more information, please contact Kristin Houlé at khoule@tcadp.or512-441-1808 (office), 512-552-5948, or Laura Burstein at: at or 202-626-6868 (o) or 202-669-3411(c).