Death penalty, the mentally disabled at issue for justices
HOUSTON >> The U.S. Supreme Court is set to examine whether the nation’s busiest state for capital punishment is trying to put to death a convicted killer who’s intellectually disabled, which would make him ineligible for execution under the court’s current guidance.
Lawyers for prisoner Bobby James Moore, 57, contend that the state’s highest criminal court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, ignored current medical standards and required use of outdated standards when it decided Moore isn’t mentally disabled. That ruling removed a legal hurdle to Moore’s execution for the shotgun slaying of a Houston grocery store clerk in 1980.
The Texas court is a “conspicuous outlier” among state courts and “defies both the Constitution and common sense,” Clifford Sloan, Moore’s lead lawyer, told the justices in written briefs submitted ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled oral arguments.