WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court in 2002 barred the execution of mentally disabled inmates.
But until now, the court has left it up to the states to determine who is mentally disabled.
A new case is testing whether states can rely solely on the result of an intelligence test to conclude a death row inmate isn't mentally disabled — and therefore eligible to be executed — despite other evidence of mental deficits.
In arguments Monday, a Florida inmate is challenging that state's use of a rigid IQ cutoff to determine mental disability.
Florida is among the few states that use a threshold score of 70, as measured by IQ tests, to conclude an inmate is not mentally disabled, even if other evidence indicates he is.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri death-row inmate scheduled for execution this month says the state prison system is improperly storing expired doses of a new lethal injection drug provided by an Oklahoma pharmacy that's not licensed to do business in the neighboring state.
Attorneys for Herbert Smulls filed a complaint with the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy on Friday. They want the board to recall an "expired, unsafe" batch of the sedative pentobarbital provided to Missouri by an unidentified Oklahoma compounding pharmacy. The complaint says the pharmacy gave erroneous instructions to store the drug at room temperature.
Missouri switched to its one-drug execution method late last year and has since killed two inmates. The complaint includes Missouri state records showing the pentobarbital given to both inmates had expired eight to 10 days earlier.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The execution of convicted killer Allen Nicklasson, postponed in the debate over Missouri's choice of execution drug, has been rescheduled for December 11th.
The Missouri Supreme Court set the new date on Friday.
Nicklasson was convicted of the 1994 killing of Excelsior Springs, Missouri businessman Richard Drummond, who stopped to help when a car used by Nicklasson and two others broke down on Interstate 70. Another man in the car, Dennis Skillicorn, was executed in 2009.
Nicklasson was first set to be executed Oct. 23, when Missouri planned to use the anesthetic propofol for the first time. The plan drew concerns because most propofol is made in Europe, and the European Union threatened to limit export if it was used in an execution.
Governor Jay Nixon stopped the execution.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - An attorney for condemned killer Allen Nicklasson is asking the Missouri Supreme Court for a stay of execution, citing concerns about Missouri's planned use of the anesthetic propofol for the first time as a lethal injection drug.
Attorney Jennifer Herndon filed the motion on Wednesday. It wasn't clear when the court would issue a ruling.
The Missouri Department of Corrections has expressed confidence in propofol as an execution drug, but Herndon raised concerns that it could cause Nicklasson to suffer.
Nicklasson was convicted of the 1994 killing of Excelsior Springs businessman Richard Drummond, who stopped to help when a car used by Nicklasson and two others broke down on Interstate 70. Another man in the car, Dennis Skillicorn, was executed in 2009.
STARKE, Fla. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution for a Florida inmate who orchestrated the 1987 ambush murder of a prison guard, then published three books and maintained a blog while on death row.
William Van Poyck (pronounced poyk) is set to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Florida State Prison for the murder of prison guard Fred Griffis. His case garnered international attention because Van Poyck went on to write books.
The 58-year-old Van Poyck declined a final meal and visited Wednesday with his sister, four friends and a spiritual adviser.
Van Poyck and Frank Valdes ambushed a prison van outside a West Palm Beach doctor's office in a failed attempt to free their friend, James O'Brien. Griffis was fatally shot.