Supreme Court sides with death row inmate

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U.S. Supreme Court

By Ariane de Vogue

CNN Supreme Court Reporter

(CNN) — The Supreme Court sided Tuesday with a death row inmate whose lawyers argued that he should not be executed because he is intellectually disabled.

The justices held that a lower court in Texas had used the wrong standard in determining that Bobby James Moore could be put to death. Moore was convicted of the 1980 murder of James McCarble, an employee at the Birdsall Super Market in Houston.

The court sent the case back down to the lower court with instructions to apply current medical community understandings of intellectual disability.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the 5-3 opinion.

“Texas cannot satisfactorily explain why it applies current medical standards for diagnosing intellectual disability in other contexts, yet clings to superseded standards when an individual’s life is at stake,” she wrote.

Moore’s case will now go back to the lower court, which will take a second look at his sentencing.

Lawyers for Moore had argued that the Texas court had ruled against their client by using outdated medical information and refusing to rely on more current clinical definitions of intellectual disability.


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