TX Judge: No Hearing For Delusional Death Row Prisoner

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Marcus Druery suffers from auditory hallucinations and “psychotic ideations”; he believes his cell has been “wired” since 2008, and that he is serving a “one month sentence”.  That’s according to health staff at the Texas prison where he is under a sentence of death (not a one month sentence).  He has an August 1 execution date.

The diagnosis, since at least 2009, has been schizophrenia, and a neuro-psychologist hired by his legal defense this year concluded that he has had paranoid schizophrenia since his mid to late 20s, and that

“delusional ideas pervade and distort his understanding of his current legal situation and his present circumstances. Because of his inflexible, psychotic, and delusional interpretation of his circumstances, Mr Druery does not have the capacity to rationally understand the connection between his crime and his punishment.”

It is a violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1986 ban on executing the “insane”  (and its 2007 update to that ruling in another Texas case) to put to death someone who has no rational understanding of the reason for his execution.  This was why Abdul Awkal’s execution in Ohio was stayed last month.

Texas so far, has not followed suit, as a Brazos County judge has refused to even allow a hearing on Druery’s competency.  Given the Texas legacy of executing prisoners with severe mental illness (examples: James Coburn, Kelsey Patterson) it would be wise for higher Texas courts to be more judicious and at least allow a hearing on whether Druery’s paranoid schizophrenia makes him unfit for execution under the U.S. Constitution .

If they don’t, it will be up to the Texas executive branch, Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, to step in a prevent the execution of a paranoid schizophrenic who believes he is serving a one month sentence.

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24 thoughts on “TX Judge: No Hearing For Delusional Death Row Prisoner

  1. According to the Texas Defender website -"while the state has acknowledged that Druery suffers from delusions, schizophrenia, "thought broadcasting" and auditory hallucinations, Department of Criminal Justice officials have yet to respond to the question of whether his medical condition meets the legal definition of insanity. "
    A person is insane, and is not responsible for criminal conduct if, at the time of such conduct, as a result of a severe mental disease or defect, he was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his acts. This is because willfull intent is an essential part of most offenses; and a person who is insane is not capable of forming such intent. Mental disease or defect does not otherwise constitute a defense; the person has the burden of proving the defense of insanity by clear and convincing evidence.

    So to put it succintly, dx of schizpohrenia alone will establish a basis for the insnity defense, as well as the dx alone is not considered. Stay tuned…

  2. CORRECTION: So to put it succintly, dx of schizpohrenia alone WILL NOT establish a basis for the insanity defense, as well as the dx alone is not considered. Stay tuned…

  3. What else would you expect a neuro-psychologist hired by his legal defense team to say? Pretty remarkable that a person can live an entire life (and an entire capital punishment/death penalty trial) going undiagnosed with a mental illness – Long after being sentenced to death NOW he is "diagnosed" with schizophrenia. Sure!

  4. I believe with all my heart that anyone who commicts the crime should be pynished. But not by death. I believe in God and he gives us lufe. We as his children have not right to take it. They should stay locked up never released. But the metally shoud be placed somewhete else for life according to crime. Stop giving harsh and long prison sentences to non violent offenders. And put the killiers of humans in for life. Put them together all of them. Stop the killings even by the hand of so called justice.

  5. You cannot go the Courts and argue morality because it will not work. What you can do (and AIUSA is already doing), is lobby the legislative bodies of the states that have the death penalty in their penal code…