death row and mental illness

Started by casual_observer, August 13, 2008, 03:30:24 PM

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casual_observer

i saw this on the local news last night and wondered if anyone had any thoughts on the subject:

http://www.click2houston.com/investigates/17169951/detail.html

basically, it was a news report about raymond riles who was found to be mentally competent when sentenced to death in 1974 but has since been determined incompetent for execution.  currently, he remains on death row but family and activists would like to see him moved.  according to the story, there are 5 other prisioners in texas with the same circumstances so this could potentially affect 6 dr cases in texas.

Lloyd

I know the law won't allow it, but personally I think the executions should be carried out in these cases.  They were competent when they were tried and sentenced.  There is too great a chance for others on death row to pretend to be mentally incompetent in order to avoid execution, and if they are removed from death row, it will be an even bigger enticement for others to try this.  I also view the actual act of execution as not only a fitting punishment but as a means for the family of victims to help recover. 

Riles mother wants her son to be more comfortable.  Isn't that touching?  Maybe he should just take a long dirt nap.

RevKev

Here's another case in todays Houston Chronicle about death row "mental illness":


More review ordered for condemned Texas inmate
By MICHAEL GRACZYK Associated Press Writer 2008 The Associated Press
Aug. 13, 2008, 1:29PM
  A federal appeals court, overturning a district court's ruling, agrees with an East Texas death row inmate that the lower court should consider his claims challenging the validity of a test that showed he was not mentally retarded and eligible for execution.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent back to federal district court the case of Rickey Lynn Lewis, who was condemned for the fatal shooting of a Smith County man during a burglary northwest of Tyler nearly 18 years ago.

The New Orleans-based appeals court, in a ruling late Tuesday, said a federal judge should consider an affidavit from the author of an IQ test who said the test improperly was given to Lewis, making the results inflated.

The decision returns the appeal to the federal district court, where the appeals court said prosecutors could respond to the affidavit, where the judge there could consider that response and the affidavit, and where the court could re-evaluate the rejection of Lewis' mental retardation claims by the state courts.

The test at issue showed Lewis with an IQ of 79 and was the highest of four IQ evaluations given to the ninth-grade dropout. Court documents show other tests given to Lewis put his IQ at 59, 70 and 75.

The courts generally have held 70 as the threshold for mental retardation and the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled mentally retarded people may not be executed.

Lewis, who turned 46 last month, has been on death row since 1994, four years after George Ray Newman was killed. The 45-year-old Newman was shot as he responded to the screams of his fiancee after Lewis broke in to his home. Evidence showed Lewis then raped the woman and stole her car.

At the time of the September 1990 attack, Lewis was on parole after serving less than two years of a 25-year sentence for burglary in Smith County. Lewis first went to prison in 1983 for burglary and was paroled after serving five months of a three-year term. He was returned as a parole violator, released, returned again for violating parole, then released on mandatory supervision in 1986.

Six weeks later, he returned to prison with a five-year sentence for burglary, was released on mandatory supervision less than a year later in May 1987. By June 1988, he was back in prison with 25 years for burglary, and was on parole from that sentence when the Newman slaying occurred.

He was convicted of capital murder in April 1994 and sentenced to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals two years later threw out his death sentence because of improper punishment instructions given to his jury. At a second punishment trial in 1997, he was condemned again.


casual_observer

the main difference is that raymond riles appears to be delusional, while michael graczyk is claiming to be mentally retarded.  i don't know what the source of riles' delusions are but it seems that he wasn't that way when he went onto dr.  as for graczyk's claim:  i thought you had to be declared mentally competent to stand trial in the first place; if he wasn't, then his lawyer should have made that point initially.

meaning, i don't think graczyk has a mental illness but it would seem that riles does.

Henrik - Sweden

Kerry Cook shared cell block with Riles as early as somewhere around 1980. In "Chasing justice" he writes about Riles that "...he seemed crazier than anyone I had ever met before". It's seems highly unlikely that he will ever regain a mental status that makes him eligible for execution according to the existing rules. To keep him on DR seems very close to hypocrisy. Better then to commute him to life and send him to some facility that is better equipped to deal with his state (I would guess that the DR prison staff has experienced some difficulties with him over the years)

iamjumbo

the whole notion of not executing a murderer because he is "retarded" is stupid on it's face.  there is simply NO justification for it whatsoever.
the ONLY consideration that is even remotely relevant is whether or not the individual comprehends that murder is wrong.  this requires the individual to be legally insane under the mcnaughten rules. 
nonetheless, if the individual was deemed competent to stand trial because he did comprehend that murder is wrong, NOTHING that might change ten or twenty years later is relevant. 

casual_observer


the whole notion of not executing a murderer because he is "retarded" is stupid on it's face.  there is simply NO justification for it whatsoever.
the ONLY consideration that is even remotely relevant is whether or not the individual comprehends that murder is wrong.  this requires the individual to be legally insane under the mcnaughten rules. 
nonetheless, if the individual was deemed competent to stand trial because he did comprehend that murder is wrong, NOTHING that might change ten or twenty years later is relevant. 


i agree in the sense that the mental retardation should only be an issue right at the beginning of things, not years down the road unless the attorney didn't do it at the onset of the trial OR (as in riles' case) he developed some sort of mental problems after his sentencing/incarceration.  i just find it hard to say "go ahead and kill him" when he has obviously lost touch with reality.

having said that, he might be the best actor in the world and be trying to fool everyone to get commuted to life...

iamjumbo



the whole notion of not executing a murderer because he is "retarded" is stupid on it's face.  there is simply NO justification for it whatsoever.
the ONLY consideration that is even remotely relevant is whether or not the individual comprehends that murder is wrong.  this requires the individual to be legally insane under the mcnaughten rules. 
nonetheless, if the individual was deemed competent to stand trial because he did comprehend that murder is wrong, NOTHING that might change ten or twenty years later is relevant. 


i agree in the sense that the mental retardation should only be an issue right at the beginning of things, not years down the road unless the attorney didn't do it at the onset of the trial OR (as in riles' case) he developed some sort of mental problems after his sentencing/incarceration.  i just find it hard to say "go ahead and kill him" when he has obviously lost touch with reality.

having said that, he might be the best actor in the world and be trying to fool everyone to get commuted to life...


in 99% of the cases, you're right there.
still, as long as he was in touch with reality when he murdered, it shouldn't matter how far out of touch he is when he's executed

Hutchsmash

This is a great example of why we need to speed up the process.  If he would have been delt with in a timely manner his mental state now, 30+ years later would not be a legal issue.  Personally I agree with Jumbo, competence should be an issue at trial and if found competent at trial, that individual should be executed when his/her number comes up....Period.
"How come life in prison doesn't mean life? Until it does, we're not ready to do away with the death penalty. Stop thinking in terms of "punishment" for a minute and think in terms of safeguarding innocent people from incorrigible murderers."

JESSE VENTURA, I Ain't Got Time to Bleed

Peter

This all seems to be a defense of 'Legally Insane'.

What exactly IS 'Legally Insane' apart from the defense sucking further from the never ending blood money slush fund?

Peter M. 

nats

Do the usa differentiate between mental illness and retardation? it often seems to viewed as the same thing!

JeffB

No, they are not viewed as the same thing.  Often, an offender with an IQ score of about 70 or below is considered to be below the level of intelligence necessary to comprehend the proceedings.  On the other hand, mental illness has clinical aspects to its application and while mental illness can also prevent comprehension of preceedings or otherwise disallows the offenders participation in his/her defense - it is indeed a seperate set of issues.  Having said that - one can be viewed as having both mental retardation AND mental illness.
"SO SUCK IT YOU "BLUE COOLER" DOPE!"  -  Sylar24

turboprinz

Texas death row inmate Rickey Lynn Lewis loses mental impairment appeal
Lewis has been on death row since 1994
Posted: November 21, 2012 - 10:57am



HOUSTON -- A federal appeals court has rejected an East Texas inmate's claims that he's mentally impaired and ineligible for execution.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ordered another look at IQ scores for convicted killer Rickey Lynn Lewis.

The trial court, a federal district court and now the 5th Circuit, in a ruling late Tuesday, agreed the inmate's intellectual functioning is not "sub-average."

Courts generally have agreed an IQ of 70 is the threshold for mental impairment. Test results on Lewis range from 59 to 79 and his attorneys contend the higher scores are invalid.

The 50-year-old Lewis has been on death row since 1994, four years after George Ray Newman was fatally shot during a burglary of his home near Tyler. Evidence showed Newman's fiancee was raped.

http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2012-11-21/texas-death-row-inmate-rickey-lynn-lewis-loses-mental-impairment-appeal#.UK0ah9ewV8E
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

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