Moore v. Texas Case Brief

Posted: November 1, 2016 by beguide in case summaries, Death Penalty, Fantasy Supreme Court League, The Breyer Scale, Uncategorized

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For every case in the podcast and the Fantasy League, we will provide a summary with important issues and what to worry about.

WHAT HAPPENED: In 2002, the Supreme Court held that States could not sentence a defendant to the death penalty if it was proven that defendant possessed intellectual disabilities.  The Court did not set a standard for what qualifies as intellectual disabilities and left that decision to individual States.
WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT: Texas uses a standard that is not just out-of-date, but it’s so out-of-date that the agency that created the standard has since disavowed it for being out-of-date.  The Defendant in this case qualifies did not qualify under this standard, but presumably could qualify for a standard that is more in tune with modern practices.
WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS: There are three possible outcomes, with a modicum of fear-mongering sprinkled in.
(1) The Court does nothing and allows States to make whatever standards they want under this Rule.  Without a floor, States could make the standard much higher and execute whomever they please.
(2)  The Court refuses to set a national standard, but holds that picking a standard that is so antiquated that the people who made it publicly denounce their findings is not permitted.  With no definitive standard, Texas picks a new standard that hasn’t been disavowed by its creator and we do this throughout infinity.
(3)  The Court not only strikes the Texas standard, but also sets a requirement that all States must meet, thus substituting its judgment (which could be no more than five justices), for that of all fifty States.  States with a lower standard are now required to redo their standards via legislative action, which at very least presses pause on the death penalty in more than a few jurisdictions.
ROOT FOR option 1 (Texas) if a proponent of executing people with a mental handicap.
ROOT FOR option 2 (Moore) if you are a proponent of stopping the execution of this particular defendant, but probably no one else.
ROOT FOR option 3 (Moore) if you are a proponent of no executions for people with a mental handicap, and/or the death penalty in general.

PREDICTION:  Option 2 by a vote of 5-3

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Comments
  1. […] insight displayed by Josh from Oregon and Austin from LA, who both nailed all the details in Moore v. Texas. A lot of folks out there who could gain massive amounts of points by filling out the past ballots. […]

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