An argument in favor of people with mental illnesses being exempt from the death penalty

Mental Illness

Failure to consider mental status early in the process paves the way for execution. As a result, people with mental illness are at heighted risk for losing their lives to unfair and capricious application of the death penalty.

The age, maturity, mental status, and any history of abuse or trauma of a youthful offender should always be considered in deciding his or her punishment.

Mental Illness and the Death Penalty

Brown had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Nevertheless, studies have shown that in reality judges and juries often treat mental illness as an aggravating rather than mitigating factor.

Still, he was released a year later, and soon after committed the crimes that left eight people dead. Research studies have demonstrated that a persistent pattern of racial disparities exists in the implementation of the death penalty.

These are among our most vulnerable citizens, people with severe brain disorders that, when treated, are no more violent than the general population. Robert Moorman was executed in Arizona on February 29, The first signs of schizophrenia typically emerge in the teenage years or early 20s.

The federal and state governments should require and provide funding for appointed counsel and a full competency hearing for all individuals who appear to have questionable competency.

The process of determining guilt and imposing sentence is necessarily more complex for individuals with mental health conditions. He was hospitalized 15 times for mental health-related issues between leaving the military and Were he pushed to do so he would become a danger both to himself and to others.

During his trial, he was given large doses of lithium, which had a sedative effect on him. Thirty-six have already been executed this decade, 13 since alone. Panetti remains on death row in Texas after a execution attempt was halted.

However, psychiatric disorders, such as depression, are strongly implicated in suicide, which accounts for more than half of gun fatalities.

Symptoms include re-experiencing e. They are no-fault brain disorders not brought on by the sufferer, but by genetics and damage to the developing and adult brain e. Spisak was executed for the murders of three men and was characterized as a Nazi sympathizer. Slobogin argues that this failure constitutes a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


Both Kentucky and North Carolina considered legislation to bar the execution of a defendant who "had a severe mental disorder or disability that significantly impaired his or her capacity to appreciate the nature, consequences, or wrongfulness of his or her conduct, exercise rational judgment in relation to conduct, or conform his or her conduct to the requirements of the law.

For these reasons, MHA has called upon states to suspend using the death penalty, and NAMI has called for a ban on the death penalty for those with severe mental illnesses.

Abolish the Death Penalty

Other states have proposed similar legislation, though none has been passed. The court has not set a new execution date. Scott was convicted for the murder of Vinnie Prince. Ferguson believes he is the "Prince of God" and is being executed so can save the world.

These defendants often were mentally ill at the time of their crime, or later become so mentally incompetent that they could not comprehend the reasons for their execution. The Supreme Court held in Ford v.

Towards Exempting the Severely Mentally Ill from the Death Penalty

No death penalty for people with intellectual disabilities.THE TIME HAS COME FOR PERSONS WITH SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESS TO BE EXEMPT FROM THE DEATH PENALTY with severe mental illnesses. These are among our most vulnerable citizens, people with severe. Mental Illness and the Death Penalty. Key Supreme Court Cases Addressing Mental Illness, Insanity, and the Death Penalty relatively few people who suffered from mental illnesses were within that ruling.

recommending that individuals with severe mental illness be exempt from the death penalty. An almost identical resolution was approved.

Mental Health and the Death Penalty. The defendant's state of mind is often an issue in death penalty cases because the defendant's mental health affects his or her culpability for the crime, ability to assist counsel, and ability to understand the connection between the crime and the punishment imposed.

Banning the death penalty for defendants with severe mental illness would save the state of Tennessee an estimated $ to $ million a year, a new ABA study says. The study was released by the. Finally, Thomas’s current lawyers argued that subjecting people like him, with severe mental illness, to the death penalty is categorically unconstitutional.

“There is a growing consensus against the execution of the severely mentally ill,” they wrote in a brief. A leading mental health group, Mental Health America, estimates that five to ten percent of all death row inmates suffer from a severe mental illness.

This overview discusses the intersection of the law and the challenges faced by mentally ill capital defendants at every .

An argument in favor of people with mental illnesses being exempt from the death penalty
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