TX Judge: No Hearing For Delusional Death Row Prisoner

July 25, 2012

Marcus Druery suffers from auditory hallucinations and “psychotic ideations”; he believes his cell has been “wired” since 2008, and that he is serving a “one month sentence”.  That’s according to health staff at the Texas prison where he is under a sentence of death (not a one month sentence).  He has an August 1 execution date.

The diagnosis, since at least 2009, has been schizophrenia, and a neuro-psychologist hired by his legal defense this year concluded that he has had paranoid schizophrenia since his mid to late 20s, and that

“delusional ideas pervade and distort his understanding of his current legal situation and his present circumstances. Because of his inflexible, psychotic, and delusional interpretation of his circumstances, Mr Druery does not have the capacity to rationally understand the connection between his crime and his punishment.”

It is a violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1986 ban on executing the “insane”  (and its 2007 update to that ruling in another Texas case) to put to death someone who has no rational understanding of the reason for his execution.  This was why Abdul Awkal’s execution in Ohio was stayed last month.

Texas so far, has not followed suit, as a Brazos County judge has refused to even allow a hearing on Druery’s competency.  Given the Texas legacy of executing prisoners with severe mental illness (examples: James Coburn, Kelsey Patterson) it would be wise for higher Texas courts to be more judicious and at least allow a hearing on whether Druery’s paranoid schizophrenia makes him unfit for execution under the U.S. Constitution .

If they don’t, it will be up to the Texas executive branch, Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, to step in a prevent the execution of a paranoid schizophrenic who believes he is serving a one month sentence.