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Posted: 6/4/2003 9:16:21 AM EDT
[url]http://www.kyw1060.com/news_story_detail.cfm?newsitemid=29869[/url] A divided Pennsylvania state senate committee has approved a bill designed to assure that mentally retarded defendants are not executed in Pennsylvania. The bill is necessary because of a US Supreme Court ruling that bans executions of the mentally retarded. But some Senate Judiciary Committee members, including Lehigh Valley Democrat Lisa Boscola, felt that the language defining retardation is too broad. She argued that a jury, and not a judge, should determine if a defendant in retarded: "I think a judge has more room to manipulate with the menu of circumstances on the mental retardation." But Westmoreland County Democrat Allen Kukovich says there is anti-judge bias in the legislature, primarily among the Philadelphia delegation: "Because a small group of prosecutors have a problem with a small group of judges, apparently in one jurisdiction, should not dictate the policy for the state of Pennsylvania." The bill as currently written would give the authority to judges.
Link Posted: 6/4/2003 10:52:52 AM EDT
Not to be disrespectful to people with bonafide disabilities, but every defense lawyer with a defendant accused of a capital crime will now claim that his client is "retarded". Example: "My client was not afforded a proper education because of his race/ethnicity/socioeconomic status etc etc etc and is retarded as a result. It's the racist/republican/angry white man's fault" In fact, this has already been tried a few times, don't know the results.
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