CLICK HERE TO VIEW A STATEMENT FROM MR. HILL’S ATTORNEY ON THE U.S. SUPREME COURT DECLINING TO STAY MR. HILL’S EXECUTION
Warren Hill is a Georgia death row prisoner with intellectual disability who is scheduled for execution on January 27, 2015. Mr. Hill is challenging the unscientific Georgia standard for determining intellectual disability in capital cases.
Mr. Hill has had documented intellectual disability all his life. Lower Georgia courts have twice affirmed (in 2002 and 2012) that he has intellectual disability by the preponderance of evidence, which is a widely-used legal standard for determining intellectual disability in capital cases. Every expert who has examined Mr. Hill, including three doctors who previously testified for the state, unanimously agrees that Mr. Hill is a person with intellectual disability.
However, Mr. Hill is in danger of execution because the Georgia standard for proving intellectual disability in a capital case is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is an unscientific and –as Mr. Hill’s case shows — tragically impossible standard to satisfy. Because of the Georgia standard, Mr. Hill has been denied the constitutional protection from execution under Atkins v. Virginia (2002), which prohibits the execution of persons with intellectual disability. Mr. Hill has been denied clemency, so there is no “failsafe” to prevent his execution other than the judicial process.
However, a May 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Hall v. Florida, held that state standards for determining intellectual disability in capital cases must follow medical diagnostic criteria, and Mr. Hill has challenged the Georgia standard, asserting:
“Hall supports Mr. Hill’s longstanding argument that Georgia’s strict ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard impermissibly ‘conflicts with the logic of Atkins and the Eighth Amendment’ and effectively renders the Supreme Court’s decision in Atkins “a nullity” by making it virtually impossible to prove intellectual disability.” (p. 4).
Mr. Hill’s case is the subject of diverse and extensive support from the leading intellectual disability groups in Georgia and nationally, including the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, All About Developmental Disabilities, the Arc of Georgia, the Arc and the oldest professional society concerned with intellectual disability, the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD).