Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Texas executes man with IQ of 61

Democracy Now!:

Last night, Texas executed 54-year-old Marvin Wilson, despite evidence that he was mentally disabled and reportedly sucked his thumb into adulthood. Wilson’s lawyers had argued that an IQ test on which Wilson scored 61 — nine points below the standard for competency — should have saved him from execution under a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring execution of the intellectually disabled. Wilson is the second prisoner in Texas to be executed by a new lethal injection method involving a single drug. We speak with Democracy Now! producer Renée Feltz, who has long reported on the death penalty, especially in Texas, where she has covered the state’s ongoing execution of developmentally disabled prisoners.

Renée Feltz reads from a statement by the son of legendary author John Steinbeck condemning Texas for using Steinbeck’s fictional character, Lennie Small, as a benchmark to determine who might be eligible for execution. "On behalf of the family of John Steinbeck, I am deeply troubled by today’s scheduled execution of Marvin Wilson," Thomas Steinbeck wrote. "The character of Lennie was never intended to be used to diagnose a medical condition like intellectual disability. I find the whole premise to be insulting, outrageous, ridiculous, and profoundly tragic. I am certain that if my father, John Steinbeck, were here, he would be deeply angry and ashamed to see his work used in this way."

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