CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lamparello on Burdens of Proof and Intellectual Disability

Lamparello adamAdam Lamparello (Indiana Tech Law School) has posted Unreasonable Doubt: Warren Hill, AEDPA, and Georgia's Unconstitutional Burden of Proof on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Georgia’s “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for determining intellectual disability has led to an absurd — and arbitrary — result. A Georgia state court held that defendant Warren Hill was intellectually disabled, yet still sentenced Hill to death. Seven experts — and the court — deemed Hill disabled under a preponderance of the evidence standard. He remains on death row, however, because Georgia’s “preposterous burden of proof” requires that intellectual disability be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, a standard experts have said is nearly impossible to satisfy. It “effectively limits the constitutional right protected in Atkins,” and creates a conditional, not categorical, ban. It also highlights a deeper problem: the process for determining who faces execution resides in an abyss of arbitrariness where death is not “different,” and “individualized consideration” is illusory.

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