[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----TEXAS
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Apr 25 19:10:33 CDT 2005
U.S. High Court Won't Reinstate Death Penalty for Retarded Man
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to reinstate the death penalty for a
mentally retarded Texas man who was sentenced before the justices barred
executions of retarded people in 2002.
The justices, acting without comment today in the case of a man
convicted of killing a police officer, turned down the state's argument
that high court's Atkins v. Virginia decision shouldn't apply to
killers who were already sentenced to die when the court ruled.
The case concerned Alberto Valdez, who was convicted and sentenced
to death in 1988 for the shooting death of Corpus Christi police
officer Joseph D. Bock the previous year. A Texas state appeals court
last year upheld a trial judge's conclusion that Valdez was retarded
and ordered his sentence commuted to life in prison.
The Atkins decision barred executions of retarded people as a
violation of the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual
punishments. The 6-3 decision said a ``national consensus'' had emerged
against the practice.
The Texas appeal contended that no such consensus existed 14 years
earlier when Valdez was sentenced. Valdez opted not to file a response
with the nation's highest court in Washington.
The case is Texas v. Valdez, 04-1287.
(source: Bloomberg News)
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