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Could the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Impact Death Penalty Cases in Texas?

Could the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Impact Death Penalty Cases in Texas?

The US Supreme Court building in Washington, DC. Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Public DomainThe U.S. Supreme Court this week (April 3, 2017) agreed to hear yet another Texas death penalty case. This one involves a Honduran national convicted of murder during a home invasion here in Houston.

That announcement comes just a week (March 28, 2017) after the High Court rejected the state’s standard for mental disability in capital cases, in a decision stemming from a man’s conviction for killing a Houston store clerk in 1980 during a botched robbery. In that 5-3 decision, the High Court ruled Texas could not use an outdated standard of intellectual disability to determine if Bobby Moore could be executed. In the case the Justices have now agreed to hear, attorneys for Carlos Ayestas say he had a history of mental illness that a jury never heard.

We discuss what’s behind the High Court’s recent interest in death penalty cases from Texas involving mental health with constitutional law professor Kenneth Williams from South Texas College of Law Houston. He’s author of a book about the death penalty called Most Deserving of Death?: An Analysis of the Supreme Court’s Death Penalty Jurisprudence.

About the Author

Abner Fletcher

Abner FletcherAbner Fletcher is a multimedia producer for Houston Matters and Houston Public Media.View all posts by Abner Fletcher →