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Bobby Moore Case: SCOTUS Just Made It Harder to Execute Intellectually Disabled Prisoners

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The Texas death chamber in Huntsville, Texas, pictured on June 23rd, 2000.

In 1980, Bobby Moore was convicted and sentenced to death for his role in a robbery at a grocery store in Houston, Texas, that resulted in the death of a clerk. Almost 40 years later, the state of Texas is still trying to kill him. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court finally, probably, forced the Lone Star State to stop.

As Pacific Standard reported in 2017, Moore, a disabled African-American man, has been at the center of recent jurisprudence on how the government measures and defines intellectual disability. By all reasonable standards, Moore is intellectually disabled. In Atkins v. Virginia in 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to execute people with intellectual disabilities, but did not rule on how to measure intellectual disabilities. Texas came up with “The Lennie Standard,” by which judges and juries were asked to compare a convicted person’s intellectual capacity to that of “Lennie” in the John Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men. If the person was deemed more competent than Lennie, they were eligible for execution. Because Moore could mow the lawn, steal food, and handle basic math in the commissary, the Texas Court of Appeals decided that he met the criteria for execution.



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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !