Hall v. Florida: SCOTUS tries to define “intellectual disability”

In 2002 the Supreme Court Ruled that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments forbid the execution of persons with intellectual disability.  Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304, 321 (2002), but failed to define “intellectual disability.”  Florida, home to George Zimmerman, Casey Anthony and Alan Grayson, defined an intellectual disability as having an IQ score of 70 or less.  Those with an IQ greater than 70, including Freddie Lee Hall at 71, were foreclosed from arguing they have an intellectual disability.  Today in Hall v. Floridain a 5-4 opinion the Supreme Court held: “This rigid rule…creates an unacceptable risk that persons with intellectual disability will be executed, and thus is unconstitutional.”  The opinion (discussed with greater detail and superior knowledge here) relies heavily on the medical community’s view that IQ tests are just one (imprecise) factor in assessing intellectual disability. 

For a discussion of the potential impact of Hall click here.

Click here for the full Opinion or visit the Library>Supreme Court Cases.


Restitution for Child Porn Victims

The Supreme Court issued an opinion in Paroline v. United States: “The threshold question the Court faces is whether [18 USC] §2259 limits restitution to those losses proximately caused by the defendant’s offense conduct.”  The 5 Justice majority struck a balance of sorts between awarding victim, “Amy Unknown,” the $3.6 million awarded by the Fifth Circuit and the District Court’s denial of restitution for lack of proximate cause.  The court held that a court “should order restitution in an amount that comports with the defendant’s relative role in the causal process that underlies the victim’s general losses.”  The Court declined to set forth a “rigid formula” for such a calculation, instead offering “rough guideposts.”

Click here to view the opinion.  It will also be in Library > Supreme Court Cases — new

Click here for comment from the victim’s attorney and Volokh Conspiracy writer, Paul Cassell, or here for a summary from the Washington Post.