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Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 2:40pm

Execution Standard Will Be Debated

Georgia was the first state in the country to prohibit the execution of mentally disabled death row inmates, but the state also has the toughest-in-the-nation standard for those who try to use this justification to avoid execution.

Inmates must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are mentally disabled to be spared execution on those grounds. The case of Warren Lee Hill, who's set to be executed next week, is shining a spotlight on Georgia's tough standard. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles is set to hear his case Friday.

Hill's lawyers say he's mentally disabled. They're asking the board to commute his sentence to life in prison. But the state argues that the defense has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hill is mentally disabled.