Donald Giles would appear to have the trifecta of mental incompetence arguments against execution. He is a paranoid schizophrenic with an IQ of 61 and a history of suicide attempts and depression. However, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Martin McDonald has ruled that Giles, 41, may be put to death if the jury so rules in his trial for the 2003 murder and robbery of Charles Goodlett.
In Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that executing the mentally retarded violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishments. Notably, Atkins was deemed “mildly mentally retarded” with an IQ of 59.
Kentucky law statutes actually ban the execution of a person with an IQ of 70 or below but McDonald ruled that Giles should have been given an IQ test as a child to claim such an exception.
This is news to many in the field who argue that the only requirement is proof that the mental condition was not recently claimed or caused. Giles has a lifetime of proven mental illness.
In the meantime, McDonald has been criticizing the local media for publicizing the case and his ruling on the mental incompetence of Giles.
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