Court Halts Texas Execution On Mental Issue, Not Lethal Injection Challenge


A federal appeals court halted a convicted Texas killer’s execution escheduled for today so his attorneys can pursue appeals arguing he’s mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty, reports the Associated Press. Robert James Campbell, 41, would have been the first U.S. inmate executed since a bungled execution in Oklahoma two weeks ago. He had two appeals, one claiming mental impairment and another that challenged the state’s plan to use a drug for which it would not disclose the source, as was the case with drugs used in Oklahoma.

The drug secrecy issue was pending before the U.S. Supreme Court when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals halted his punishment about 2½ hours before to his scheduled execution. Campbell was set to die for killing a Houston bank teller in 1991. “Campbell and his attorneys have not had a fair opportunity to develop Campbell’s claims of ineligibility for the death penalty,” a three-judge panel said. “In light of the evidence we have been shown, we believe that Campbell must be given such an opportunity.” The appeal contended Campbell wasn’t mentally competent for execution because he has a 69 IQ. Courts generally set a 70 IQ as the minimum threshold. In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled mentally impaired people cannot be executed. The 5th Circuit rejected an appeal on the drug secrecy issue.

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