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Intellectual Disability Still a Bar to Death Penalty, Says Supreme Court

17 Apr 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court on March 28 reaffirmed that intellectual disability is a constitutional barrier to the death penalty. The ruling in the case of Moore v. Texas upheld two previous decisions.

APA had signed onto an amicus brief last year in support of Moore with the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, American Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers, and National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter.

“The Court, consistent with APA’s position, sent the case of Bobby Moore back to a lower court after finding that Texas failed to apply contemporary medical standards for making the diagnosis of intellectual disability,” Marvin Swartz, M.D., told Psychiatric News. Swartz is chair of APA’s Committee on Judicial Action and a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine.

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