Atkins V Virginia

1275 Words6 Pages
1 Criminal Justice 222 23 June 2012 The court case Atkins vs. Virginia is discussing the issue that mentally retarded people being rewarded the death penalty. The discussion is that, are they capable of knowing the difference between right and wrong? When people are retarded does it affect their morals and the way they look at situations? Does it affect the decisions they make and does it impact the control they have on their emotions? Are their impulses clouded? Or could it be that people act as mental retards just to get slack? This court case was a major move in figuring out the decision in these type of cases dealing with mentally retarded people. This June 20th , 2002 case was a landmark decision by the US Supreme Court in reversing a former statutes founded in the case of Penry v. Lynaugh in 1889. The issue of the execution of mentally challenged individuals was first addressed in the case of Penry v Lynaugh in 1889. In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled that the execution of mentally challenged individuals is not a violation of the Eighth Amendment. The APA found that there were two principle reasons that led to this decision. (1) the disabilities that accompany mental retardation are directly relevant to the criminal responsibility and choice of punishment, and (2) the degree of reduction in moral blameworthiness cause by a defendant’s mental retardation renders imposition of the death penalty unconstitutional ( ) Even though Georgia and Massachusetts banned the execution of the mentally challenged at the time, the court found that not enough states had formed a national consensus on the matter. Exactly how did all this come about? What Cates 2 led up to this

More about Atkins V Virginia

Open Document