No Mercy In Georgia

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warren hill

Clemency was denied for Warren Hill despite his diagnosis of mental retardation.

The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles has disgraced itself, and the state it represents … again. The Georgia Board exists, like all executive clemency institutions, to inject a bit of mercy and humanity into the cold, clinical processes of our justice system.

But the Board could find no mercy for Warren Hill.

On Monday, the Georgia Board rejected Mr. Hill’s clemency petition, despite pleas from the victim’s family and several jurors that there should be no execution.  And without regard for the intellectual disabilities that should have rendered him unfit for execution 10 years ago.

The Supreme Court ruled the execution of persons with “mental retardation” unconstitutional in 2002.  Shortly thereafter, a Georgia judge found Mr. Hill to be “mentally retarded” by a “preponderance of the evidence”.  But Georgia, alone among the 33 death penalty states, requires proof of “mental retardation” to be “beyond a reasonable doubt”, the most difficult legal standard to reach. So the courts couldn’t stop an execution that would not go forward in any other state and, more likely than not, would be unconstitutional.

That’s where the clemency Board should have stepped in.  If the statements from jurors and the victim’s family weren’t enough – and they should have been – preventing Georgia from carrying out a possibly unconstitutional execution should have motivated them to mercy. Or at least motivated them to protect the integrity and reputation of Georgia’s criminal justice system.

But they were unmoved.  How and why they voted the way they did will remain a secret, but the Supreme Court may step in at the last minute. If not, Warren Hill will be executed on July 23 (postponed from July 18th due to a switch in Georgia’s lethal injection protocol), against the wishes of the victim’s family, several of the jurors from his trial, and despite the fact that, “by a preponderance of the evidence” his execution is banned by the Constitution.

Take action here to stop the execution of Warren Hill

Update (7/19): A Georgia judge has ruled against staying Warren Hill’s execution but went out of his way to reiterate that he IS mentally retarded by any standard except Georgia’s. Hopefully the Supreme Court will intervene now.

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25 thoughts on “No Mercy In Georgia

  1. ex President Bill Clinton met with Mr Nelson Mandela to have a Photo shoot on Mr Mandelas 94 birthday. I wonder of Mr Mandela knew that Clinton,whilst Governor of Arkansas and with his mind on The White House watched Democrat Dukakis being savaged by Republican wolves because he had previously approved the descision to pardon a black man called Willie Horton,who,unfortunately went on to kill again. Clinton,as Governor,3 years later,had a hard case to deal wqith. Sentenced to die,a young black man had three stays,even the guards and Chief Warden appealed to Clinton to commute. The sentenced man(?) had a mental age of ten and during one attempt to kill,murder execute him had had his last meal and didn't eat his Pecan Pie. The Guards asked him if he didn't want it. On his way to his death he said,"oh I'll get it later when we come back" In the end he was killed by The State of Arkansas,presided over by Bill Clinton who sat shaking hands with Nelson Mandela today,the same Bill Clinton who,as Governor of Arkansas and with his eye on the White House and his memory of Dukakis was heard to say,quite openly……..2I'll never be outniggered again2 and thus the execution went ahead. I fear that no one will escape death in an election year.

    • If you are going to make statements, then make sure they are factual and not twisted. Do you work for fox news or something? The man you referenced, Willie Horton, was indeed released. However this word differs entirely from pardoned, which you said he was. He was released on a weekend prison furlough program, that Dukakis had not started, but had supported as Gov. He never returned, and committed assault, armed robbery and rape. So please get your facts straight next time. Thank you.

  2. Something must happen NOW!!!! We criticize Syria for All-Assad extermination acts and we allow people with mental disabilities to be assassinated because they suffer from that disability???"The Supreme Court ruled the execution of persons with “mental retardation” unconstitutional in 2002." Therefore the Supreme Court has the legal and moral obligation of stopping this immoral death. Don't try U.S. You are not China or Russia …you are impotent and pwerless. Don't murder your own to demonstrtae power. We're on the 19tyh of July… don't get more bllod on your hands.

  3. Shame on Georgia for allowing this execution to go ahead and on the federal government for failing to prevent it. IT will be on your collective conscience.

  4. This is very sad. Two wrongs never make a right. Vengeance can not bring justice. Whether or not the man has the mental capacity to understand what he did may be important to some in a matter of the death penalty. The death penalty is immoral for a modern society that has the capacity to contain people who pose a threat to society. The possibility that this man does not even understand his actions or what the state plans to do to him is just a further depravity of a system that thinks it is okay to be financially and politically expedient to murder offenders.

  5. The way to stop this? Tell anyone running for President 'you have my vote if you remove this man from death row'. Done. And hopefully this is before the Supreme Court again right now (the article doesn't say).

    • Many criminals with long records, capable of murder, are likely to commit murder again. Execution prevents them from murdering again. Most criminals are actually quite well aware of laws and do react accordingly, though clearly not all do. When thousands of women took training classes to arm themselves during a rape crisis in Orlando, Florida in 1966, and the media reported it, rapes dropped 88% the next year. Criminals do respond to threats on their lives. No law is ever a cure for crime, but there is much that can be done.

  6. I agree to not put a man's life into a death sentence, I would agree if they be locked up for the rest of their life, or maybe put them in a facility that can take care of their mental disorder. Well I don't know if I'm wrong or wright, I just saw this from my facebook page, and I don't know how the system works there. I just feel pity if they don't pay attention to the proof from the previous judge, or any evidence that lead them to not execute the man.

  7. A young woman was shot eleven times. A man beaten to death while he slept…We all have to live and die by the decisions we make, whether they are good or whether they are bad. I feel sorry for this man but he chose the road. The state shouldn't wait until death row inmates lose their minds before they carry out their sentence. Give the taxpayers a break.

    • You do realize he may not realize what he has done is wrong. Is it wrong for a wolf to eat a duck? Is it wrong for a Hunter to kill a deer? I dont think so

  8. I would like to thank my home state of Georgia for taking this murderer off the street. And finally after over 25 years stopping the waste of my taxpayer dollars to keep him alive! He knew what he was doing, he killed two people!

  9. Will he have a chance to be a better person after he is dead? No! Death penalty is something nobody deserves! Death penalty is GOT to be abolished! Why is this alowed? Is THIS part of the human rights?!
    Please, we are talking about someone´s LIFE here! That means not only 2 people dead, but 3! I am very stricktly opposed to death penalty!

  10. Hi! Im Serina and I feel like this, no one should take a life from anyone. There is something that can be done about this and that keep praying to the Almighty God for forgiveness because his Mercy and Grace is so sufficient for us. He told the Jews in the Bible:
    "Forgive them for they know not what they do". They too will be judge also by the Father in Heaven.

  11. So being stupid is a free pass for murder? Sorry to all you bleeding hearts out there, but if some fuckin idiot killed a member of my family, and wanted me to simply accept that "he couldn't control himself" I would say fuck you, die please. After a sec of searching I got some more information on this 70 IQ bullshit, being someone who doesn't really put a lot of stock in IQ anyhow.

    Profound mental retardationBelow 20
    Severe mental retardation20–34
    Moderate mental retardation35–49
    Mild mental retardation50–69
    Borderline intellectual functioning70–84

    So with his 70 IQ, he is barely considered mentally retarded, certainly not being at a level I would personally consider unable to control or understand his actions. This animal is going to be held responsible for what he did, and I for one am happy about it.

  12. This man was given a second chance and he blew it. How many chances does a murderer get? Is the state going to give him a shot at becoming a seria killer? For a mentally retarded man he has a lot of resources. He made himself a murder weapon and beat someone to death. Think about what this man did.

  13. J.D. (a few posts above) reminded all that Mr. Hill falls w/in the range of borderline intellectual functioning (70-84). Opponents of the death penalty flaunt the mental retardation claim to an extreme, but are not educated on what defines it. According to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, mental retardation is not defined by IQ alone, rather significant deficits in adaptive functioning have to be present prior to age 18. It is a standard accepted w/in the United States, and in all death penalty states, capital defendants do have to prove these deficits. Death penalty opponents are barking up the wrong tree by arguing that the IQ score alone constitutes mental retardation..

  14. According to CNN, "Georgia's Supreme Court halted Monday evening's scheduled execution of a convicted murderer on procedural grounds, but rejected a plea to spare him due to mental retardation."

    The SCOTUS and Gerogia Courts relied heavily on looking at adaptive functioning and not an IQ alone. And yet, the author of this article and many bloggers here, misinform us by either falsifying information or providing totally unsupported "evidence." Death penalty opponents lose credibility each time they scream mental retardation when there is no tangible support and when misquoting the Supreme Court precedent or any other Court's ruling.

    DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND CHECK THE FACTS before posting anything, otherwise those of of us with keen analytical skills are going to polemically embarass you…

  15. The Georgia Board should be ashamed at rejecting Mr. Hill’s clemency petition. He has intellectual disabilities that should have rendered him unfit for execution 10 years ago!