Thursday, May 22, 2008

Virginia: More Appeals to the Gov.

James W. Ellis, past president of the American Association on Mental Retardation, and the executive directors of ARC of Virginia, ARC of the United States and the American Association on Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities have written a seven-page letter to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) arguing that Kevin Green is mentally disabled. The letter thus requests that Green's death sentence (for murder) be commuted to "a sentence of life in prison." The letter argues that Green "clearly has substantial deficits in adaptive behavior." Among other things it is observed that he cannot sign his name, pay bills, read newspapers or tell a story coherently. However, a federal magistrate judge found Green had a savings account, paid his own rent, purchased money orders, profited from drug deals, obtained a driver's license and hid much of his criminal activities from loved ones.

Jurors at Green's 2001 trial also heard an expert say Green was mentally disabled, but another expert said he simply had a personality disorder and was pretending to be less intelligent than he is. Later, the State Supreme Court dismissed the retardation claim as "frivolous." The same claim was then dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge and a federal appeals court. Observers note the Governor allowed the execution of Brandon Wayne Hedrick in 2006 even though his lawyers said there was evidence Hedrick was mentally disabled. See story here.

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