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The successfulness of using a mental disorder as a criminal defense - Term Paper Example

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Running Head: The successfulness of using a mental disorder as a criminal defense The successfulness of using a mental disorder as a criminal defense Introduction Many States have had mitigation statutes concerning death penalty for persons with mental disabilities…
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The successfulness of using a mental disorder as a criminal defense
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Download file to see previous pages This might have been due to the recent opinions on the ban of the death penalty for juveniles which might justify the barring of the execution of persons with various mental disabilities. Atkins v. Virginia The Atkins v. Virginia (00-8452) 536 U.S. 304 (2002) 260 Va. 375, 534 S. E. 2d 312 case, is an example of cases that addresses the issue of death penalty, as a cruel and abnormal punishment and a violation of the Eighth amendment imposed upon a mentally retarded individual. Daryl Renard Atkins was convicted of abducting, robbing, and murdering Eric Nesbitt. During the hearing of Atkins’ sentence, the presented evidence was that Atkins was mentally retarded. The jury gave Atkins a death sentence. The Virginia Supreme Court ordered the second hearing, but Atkins was again given a death penalty; which the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed. The U.S Supreme Court granted certiorari to review the case (Carmen, Ritter, & Witt, 2008). The petitioner, Daryl Renard Atkins argued that procedures allowing the infliction of the death penalty on the mentally retarded individuals notwithstanding their diminished accountability violated the Eighth amendment. Atkins further argued that by executing a mentally retarded individual, the decency standards were offended. ...
Justification for the death penalty, revenge and preclusion was appropriate for mentally retarded persons. It was risky to impose the death penalty, since the mentally retarded persons are expected to be poor witnesses and unable to support their counsel. Justice Stevens rendered the death penalty as inappropriate. Chief justice Rehnquist, Justice Scalia, and Thomas, agreed to the court’s reliance on the foreign laws, which prohibited the death penalty of mentally retarded persons. Rehnquist found out that when sentencing, jury information was considerable in determining contemporary values. The information and State legislations should be the major factor to determine the contemporary values (Carmen, Ritter, & Witt, 2008). Justice Scalia, Justice Rehnquist, and Thomas disagreed on the sentence after realizing that the court had agreed and followed personal feelings in deciding the case. Scalia noted that the information presented showed that there was a consensus, and that State legislation prohibiting execution of mentally retarded persons was not yet developed. Scalia further stated that, it is possible for one to fake the symptoms of mental retardation. Finally, Scalia pointed out that mentally retarded individuals are vulnerable to the death penalty. However, in sentencing, their background could be considered as a mitigating factor (Carmen, Ritter, & Witt, 2008). States that allowed the execution of the mentally retarded persons were forced to modify their statutes with regard to the decision made in the Atkins case. Moreover, it was noted that as a means of avoiding death penalty, more “mental retardation” claims were expected. The Atkins case is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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