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5th Circuit issues last-minute execution stay based on claim Texas concealed inmate’s low IQ

Posted May 13, 2014 4:59 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Unpersuaded by an injection-drug argument Monday, a federal appeals court nonetheless issued a last-minute stay of execution Tuesday in the case of a Texas inmate.

The argument that won the day for Robert James Campbell, 41, was based on his intellectual capacity, the New York Times (reg. req.) reports.

His lawyers said the state had concealed IQ test results for the convicted murderer. Campbell tested at 68 when he was a child and 71 at 19 years of age, soon after he was put on death row.

He had been scheduled to be put to death Tuesday night after 6 p.m. CT.

“We have been presented with evidence that Campbell, who will soon be executed unless we intervene, may not constitutionally be executed,” said Judge James L. Dennis in the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. District Court of Appeals decision (PDF) granting the stay. “It is regrettable that we are now reviewing evidence of intellectual disability at the eleventh hour before Campbell’s scheduled execution. However, from the record before us, it appears that we cannot fault Campbell or his attorneys, present or past, for the delay.”

In another appeal, the 5th Circuit has rejected in a Monday ruling (PDF) an argument that Campbell's execution should not proceed because the state has refused to identify the source of the drug that was to be used for his lethal injection. That appeal is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hat tip: Associated Press.

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