Those records did not include IQ tests showing a score of The jurors who sentenced Hill to die heard no evidence of "retardation," the term used by the courts. The school records had still not surfaced at the time of a post-conviction hearing. Hill's lawyers made a mental "retardation" claim bolstered by the testimony of four mental health professionals who had examined Hill, but three others testified that Hill was not "retarded.
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Then this year, Hill's defense team unearthed the elementary school records and had them examined by the experts who had testified at the hearing. The three doubters rethought their conclusions in the light of the test results and "access to better science" in the intervening years. Now the tally was 7 to 0 — unanimous — but not good enough for the U.
Murder at the Supreme Court
Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. In April, the court ruled that the evidence from the experts might be new, but Hill's claim of "retardation" was not and could not be considered again.
Two members of the three-judge panel said their hands were tied, both by legal precedents closing the floodgates on appeals and by federal legislation designed to "ensure a greater degree of finality" in death-penalty convictions. They also delivered this double-whammy: Hill's new evidence "does not establish a miscarriage of justice" because it affects only his sentence, not his guilt or innocence.
Only his life, in other words. When the Supreme Court justices meet today, their challenge is to untie this impossible legal tangle.
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It is a challenge perhaps best expressed by the lone dissenter on the 11th circuit panel, Judge Rosemary Barkett. She wrote, "The idea that courts are not permitted to acknowledge that a mistake has been made which would bar an execution is quite incredible for a country that not only prides itself on having the quintessential system of justice but attempts to export it to the world as a model of fairness.
Murder at the Supreme Court : lethal crimes and landmark cases, Martin Clancy and Tim O'Brien
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Martin Clancy and Tim O'Brien have written an important book. It quickens the mind, illuminates the landscape, and guarantees you will see things differently-in this case, how the jagged edges of justice come to bear on decisions of life and death.
Clancy and O'Brien are journalists at the top of their class, where facts matter and reporting can read like a novel. A great read for lawyers, students, and the general public alike. The makings of a great true-life television series.
Solicitor General "A thoughtful and fascinating look behind the headlines of some of the most grisly-and important-murder cases at the Supreme Court. Marshal, District of Maryland Hughes, a veteran law-enforcement officer, is a former major in the Maryland State Police "A thought-provoking book written at the right time for our society to revisit the death penalty. Show More Show Less. Any Condition Any Condition. See all
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