In 2002 the court made it clear in a Virginia case that no state may execute the intellectually disabled. Tuesday’s ruling in a Florida case picks up where Atkins v. Virginia left off, making it a little clearer who counts as intellectually disabled.
The pending execution of Warren Lee Hill is highlighting Georgia’s tough standard for proving mental disability in death-penalty cases. Hill’s lawyers have long argued he shouldn’t be put to death because it’s illegal to execute the “mentally retarded.” But that has to be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” in Georgia courts, and they decided Hill didn’t meet the standard. No other state requires that level of proof.