U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court to consider standard used to evaluate death-row inmate's intellectual disability

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Revised and corrected: The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to consider the case of a Texas death-row inmate who claims the outdated medical standards used to evaluate his claim of mental disability violate the Eighth Amendment.

The court granted cert in the case of Bobby James Moore, who was first sentenced to death in 1980 for the murder of a Houston grocery store employee during an armed robbery.

An initial order list released by the Supreme Court indicated it had also agreed to decide a second claim raised by Moore: whether executing an inmate 36 years after he was initially sentenced to death is a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. That issue won’t be decided by the court, however, according to a corrected order list and the New York Times. SCOTUSblog links to the cert petition and other documents in the case.

The cert petition cites court findings that Moore failed first grade twice, and was socially promoted each year after that despite failing each grade. At the age of 13, his teachers gave him daily drills on topics such as days of the week and telling time. He dropped out of school in ninth grade.

Lawyers from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom represent Moore on a pro bono basis. The case is Moore v. Texas.

Revised and corrected on June 1 to reflect Supreme Court’s correction of its initial error. Updated on June 2 to add that Skadden lawyers represent Moore.

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