Friday, February 15, 2013

Opinion: Stop Planned Execution of Man with Intellectual Disabilities

A post from the ACLU's Blog of Rights.
Warren Hill
Breaking Update, 2:30pm, February 14th: State doctors reversed an earlier finding and officially declared today that Warren Hill has mild mental retardation, placing Mr. Hill in the category of citizens protected from capital punishment by the 2002 United States Supreme Court decision Atkins v. Virginia. Mr. Hill's execution, scheduled for February 19th, must be stayed.
Secular and religious leaders from Vice President Humphrey to Mahatma Gandhi have taught that the character of society is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members. The words echo the teaching of Jesus and seem fitting to reflect on today as many Christians embark on the Lenten season of fasting, repentance, and spiritual discipline.
When I think about Georgia's scheduled execution of Warren Lee Hill, this principle haunts me. Hill is intellectually disabled (formerly called mentally retarded), and so clearly among society's weakest. The State of Georgia plans to execute him on February 19th. How do I explain to my six year-old son what kind of a society plans to execute an intellectually disabled man?

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