United States bans the execution of “mentally retarded” prisonersBMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7354.9/b (Published 06 July 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:9
- Deborah Josefson
In a landmark decision the US Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to execute what it terms mentally retarded prisoners.
The decision marks a reversal of a 1989 Supreme Court judgment that there was no national consensus against such executions and that they did not entail “cruel and unusual punishment” or violate the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution. The new ban will apply to prisoners with IQs of 70 and under.
The six to three ruling, made two weeks ago, involved the case of Atkins v Virginia. In …