High court looks at death row inmate’s IQ scores

Freddie Lee HallMail.com

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is hearing an appeal from a Florida death row inmate who claims he is protected from execution because he is mentally disabled.

The case being argued Monday at the court centers on how authorities determine who is eligible to be put to death, 12 years after the justices prohibited the execution of the mentally disabled. The court has until now left it to the states to set rules for judging who is mentally disabled. In Florida and certain other states, an intelligence test score higher than 70 means an inmate is not mentally disabled, even if other evidence indicates he is.  

Inmate Freddie Lee Hall has scored above 70 on most of the IQ tests he has taken since 1968 but says ample evidence shows he is mentally disabled. A judge in an earlier phase of the case concluded Hall “had been mentally retarded his entire life.” Psychiatrists and other medical professionals who examined him said he is mentally disabled.

As far back as the 1950s, Hall was considered “mentally retarded” — then the commonly accepted term for mental disability — according to school records submitted to the Supreme Court. He was sentenced to death for murdering Karol Hurst, a 21-year-old pregnant woman who was abducted leaving a Florida grocery store in 1978.

Hall also has been convicted of killing a sheriff’s deputy and has been imprisoned for the past 35 years. He served a prison term earlier for assault with intent to commit rape and was out on parole when he killed Hurst.

Hall’s guilt is not at issue before the high court. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the state law regarding executions and mental disability has no wiggle room if an inmate tests above 70. Psychiatrists and psychologists who are supporting Hall say an IQ test alone is insufficient for a diagnosis of mental disability. They say there’s a consensus among the mental health professions that accurate diagnosis must also include evaluating an individual’s ability to function in society, along with finding that the mental disability began in childhood.

They and Hall also contend that an IQ score is properly read in a range because the results are generally reliable, but not 100 percent so. The range takes into account a margin of error, a feature of all standardized testing.

The case is Hall v. Florida, 12-10882.

7 thoughts on “High court looks at death row inmate’s IQ scores

  1. Yea, these IQ tests are all just a bunch of hype I think. What a person lacks in one way they will usually make up for it in another way. Just like if you are not book learned you will not score very high on parts of that IQ test but that doesn`t mean that he is dumb or retarded – hell even the psychiatrists and the psychologists even say these tests are not reliable so that should say it all .

  2. Yes, I agree with you. If intelligence is the ability to solve problems, the IQ tests should be designed to do just that, but in a much more visual form, without reading bias nor cultural nor age bias. Maybe something like a computerized test where the subject’s mind activity is monitored after receiving a stimulus-problem and the reactions to this are measured instead of taking a pencil and paper test. But DEFINITELY, there is a connection between intelligence and morality. There is a new field of study just developing, “morality IQ”, and perhaps this area of investigation is more appropriate for studying the relationships between bad behavior and intelligence. We already know, because of our recognition of the concept of cognitive dissonance, of the problems of reconciling behavior and knowledge, real and ideal, of persons. The best example of this is a person who smokes while being quite aware of the potential consequences.

    1. So that makes it right then??
      Then lets make it fair then and start takeing out the murderous cops and these war mongering politicions then Eh?
      They have murdered more people/innocents than this guy could ever even dream of. Think about it, Luddite.
      I do not mean to be that way but lets get real here now then eh.

      Just think of all of the falsely accused people that were wrongly convicted of a crime that they never did. Get what I am sayin Luddite?

      1. I know exactly what you are saying. In this case there is absolutely no doubt that he is guilty and for his crimes he should die(and not decades later).
        I am a fairly simple person when it comes to some things and have never been able to work out why multiple cops have not been taken out in the US for killing peoples loved ones (and that includes their pets).
        A Russian nationalist summed up what is wrong with this world in the Ukraine recently when he said he didn’t expect many men to come to the Crimea to help out because there are very few men left anywhere.
        As far as your comments about politicians it also stuns me that these guys survive their terms in office.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PUE8fYxjq8 <– this is justice

        1. There is a old saying that goes ” if the law is not fairly and equally applied to all people then there is no law and when there is no law then there is nothing but anarchy”
          Now I do not believe in anarchy but when the so called law is not equally andf fairly applied to all then this guy should have been spared his life till all these other criminals have been brought to justice with the equal penalities that this guy was

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