(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Steven W. Hawkins, Amnesty International USA's new executive director, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to deny Warren Hill's petitions to review new additional information concerning his case. Hill is on Georgia's death row and awaiting execution. He has an IQ of 70 and has been declared by a state judge to be "mentally retarded" by a preponderance of the evidence. In addition, all seven doctors who have examined him now agree that Hill is "mentally retarded."
"Today's decision is extremely disappointing because the Court missed an important opportunity to strengthen its own ban on executions of the 'mentally retarded'. But even more disturbing, it leaves the impression that states can disregard and undermine the law of the land.
"The failure of the Court to intervene in this and other cases is emblematic of its broader failure to ensure fairness in the impossibly flawed use of the death penalty in the United States. Procedural bars enacted by U.S. Congress and affirmed by the courts have created an environment where an execution that would clearly violate the Constitution somehow cannot be stopped.
"Today's decision is one more definitive reason that capital punishment is a runaway system that must be abolished. It is clear that to prevent these kinds of miscarriages of justice, ending the death penalty is the only solution."
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million members in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.