(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The United States Supreme Court is Warren Lee Hill's last hope in stopping his execution, said Amnesty International.
Hill is scheduled to be executed by the State of Georgia on Monday, July 15, despite the unanimous agreement of every doctor who has examined him that he is a person with "mental retardation" with an IQ of 70. This execution would be contrary to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2002 ruling in Atkins v. Virginia, which banned the execution of “mentally retarded" offenders.
"The Supreme Court banned the execution of 'mentally retarded' prisoners and we hope that it will stay Mr. Hill's execution," said Brian Evans, director of Amnesty International USA's Abolish the Death Penalty campaign. "His intellectual disability is undisputed and executing him would not only be the antithesis of the 2002 ruling but a moral outrage."
A stay is also imperative as the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to consider Hill's recently filed habeas corpus petition on September 30, 2013. A motion for a stay is also before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In addition, Georgia's Attorney General, Sam Olens, can concede that Hill is intellectually disabled and allow his claim to be heard. Olens should exercise his authority to prevent an unconstitutional execution.
All seven doctors who examined Hill concur that he has "mental retardation," including three doctors from the state who originally testified in 2000 that Hill did not have "mental retardation" but have now reversed their diagnoses.
Numerous mental health and disability groups, including the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Arc of Georgia and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), have opposed Hill's execution. President Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn Carter have called for clemency. Several members of Hill's original jury have stated under oath that life without parole is the appropriate sentence, and that they would not have given him the death penalty if life without parole had been an option.
"The victim’s family supports commuting Mr. Hill's death sentence to life without the possibility of parole, specifically citing his 'mental retardation,'" said Evans. "Jurors, victim's family members and mental disability groups all agree that this execution must be stopped."
According to Amnesty International's most recent yearly report on the use of the death penalty worldwide, the overall the worldwide trend is away from the use of the death penalty. Five U.S. States have legislated to abolish the death penalty in the past six years – New Jersey (2007), New Mexico (2009), Illinois (2011), Connecticut (2012) and just last month, Maryland.
Amnesty International continues its campaign to abolish the use of the death penalty in all 50 states in the United States and around the globe.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists, and volunteers 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.