Despite Retardation Issue, VA Resumes Capital Punishment


Convicted killer Kevin Green was put to death by lethal injection last night in Virginia, says the Washington Post. He was the first inmate executed in the state’s normally busy death chamber since 2006. The execution came after an unusual hour-long delay as Green’s attorneys tried to persuade a federal judge in Richmond to issue a last-minute reprieve, even though the U.S. Supreme Court and Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine had declined to intervene.

The execution signaled the resumption of capital punishment in the state after it was effectively put on hold in the fall because the Supreme Court was debating the constitutionality of lethal injection. Virginia has executed 99 people since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, second only to Texas, which has executed 405. Timothy Richardson, an attorney for Green, said that even though Green’s victim “suffered a horrible loss, the state “just executed a man with the IQ of an 11-year-old child.” Green’s attorneys had argued that their client could not be constitutionally put to death because, with an IQ of 65, he is mentally retarded. The Supreme Court outlawed the execution of mentally disabled people in 2002 but left it up to states to define retardation.


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