Retarded Convict Not Retarded

Jurors: Death Row Inmate Not Retarded (AP)

YORKTOWN, Va. – A death row inmate whose case led to the Supreme Court’s ban on executing the mentally retarded was found mentally competent by a Virginia jury Friday. A judge immediately scheduled his execution for December.

Basically, Daryl Atkins was convicted of murder but had his death sentence commuted by the Supreme Court (in Atkins v. Virginia) because the defense argued that he was retarded and thus execution would be cruel and unusual. Following the decision, the jury reconsidered the case, only to then judge Atkins “not retarded.” Classic.

This guy killed an enlisted Airman for beer money, so forgive me if I shed no tears over his execution.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, ,
Leopold Stotch
About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.


  1. Anderson says:

    Jurors in Virginia get to decide whether a murderer is retarded? What a, um, retarded system.

    Surprisingly, the all-white jury decided the guy was bright enough to execute. Who would’ve thought?

    By the time it’s appealed up again, Atkins will have been reversed.

  2. Leopold Stotch says:

    Yup, and everyone knows that all white people are racists, driven only by their intense desire to lynch innocent black folk.

  3. John Burgess says:

    Atkins v. Virginia sent the case back to the lower level court to determine, via due legal process, whether or not Atkins was, in fact, retarded. The Supreme Courts did not decide that as a matter of fact and law, Atkins was retarded.

    The jury, following the USSC’s order, reconsidered the case and found him to be not retarded. The process worked exactly as it was supposed to work. The results, however, disappointed some.

  4. Anderson says:

    Well, hey, the guy may not *be* retarded; that’s fine. But down here in Mississippi, we aren’t naive enough to believe that race is irrelevant in capital trials. Sorry the rest of you haven’t caught up yet—best wishes!