TX Judge: No Hearing For Delusional Death Row Prisoner

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

      • The jury of your peers of course. What would be you preference? Anarchy….

        • "Jury of your peers" Forgive me if I'm wrong, I don't claim to be a legal expert, but I thought the job of the jury was to decide guilt or innocence. I have always thought that sentencing fell upon established laws or to the discretion of the judge. Have I been mistaken? Is the jury given the ability to say that 'although this crime, by law, merits the death sentence WE choose that it not be handed down'. If they can't then then sentence is NOT established by a "jury of your peers".

          • Yes, the jury always has the ability to consider not only aggravating circustances but also mitigating circumstances: those that make the defendant less culpable (such as abuse, diminished capacity, etc). That means that even though the defendantlegally may be eligible for the death penalty , the jury can overrule it and give LWOP. The judge, of course, can overrule the jury and impose death, but that is rarely exercised during a jury trial (perhaps if jury misconduct/tampering occurs). Bench trials are exclusively decided by judges, thus defendants accused of murder majority of the time roll the dice with a jury.

  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…

    • This site and the articles contained within it are dedicated to the attempt to abolish capital punishment. The taking of another life. From this and your previous posts I can only infer that your for it, true? If so answer me this, are YOU insane? I assume your answer to this would be no. If this is the case what is your justification for condoning it? And please don't use the "Well he did it first" defense I'll f'eel like it's 4:00 pm and I'm still refereeing my children and not 4:00 am when I finally get a respite from them. You know how it can get, one child gets slapped and that one slaps back in return and then it devolves to me to decide me to how to deal it with and, I can tell you this, one thing I would never do is say "He slapped you and then you slapped him back ,OK its over now, case closed ". They would BOTH be punished. But then again maybe you don't know, maybe you have no children and haven't the slightest clue what I'm talking about.

      • You are correct in infering its all about how we raise our children. I have two boys and they are a handful (Boys will be boys, heh).
        Nowhere in my post can you infer that I am for capital punishment. I discuss at lenght the incorrect information that AIUSA feeds the public about each murderers culpability issues, and how the AIUSA twists the guidelines that render someone mentally retarded or insane. May that use this platform do not have a clue about this information. what is even worst – may that use this platform use mental retardation to descrive their cause celebre murderer of the week, even though there are no facts to back it up. So please reread my comments and then look up terms such as mental retardation, plea of insanity, dimished capacity/culpability. everyone who calls themselves anti-death penalty is required to know these terms but unfortunately from what I see on this platform – do not have clue. You cannot be uneducated when it comes to defending your cause because you will lose credibility in a nanosecond. ..

        • And why would you do that? I searched for comments at your recommendation but I'm sure I didn't see them all. However, you claim to "discuss at length the incorrect information that AIUSA feeds the public about EACH murderers culpability" yet I did not see any posts from you after the articles about Danielle Cook or Ray Crone. 'Each' should denote all of those on death row not just a select few. Did I miss something or do you have a personal agenda? And for many that use this platform (I have to admit I'm not sure how you intended that term- this site? or actively seeking a stay due to diminished capacity?) it's the only one open to them by law to save a life. And why, if am anti-death penalty, should I need to know these terms? Oh, I forgot, because the death penalty is legal it would be the only way to fight for a life against something that is already in place. Yet another reason I infer you are for it.

          • Me again. It just dawned on me that you completely circumvented answering any questions. I asked you: what is your justification for condoning it? You said I can't infer that your for capital punishment yet you failed to state definitively that you are not. You mentioned that you have two sons. If one slapped the other, would you tell the "other" go ahead and slap him back? If they have already slapped each other would you only punish the first aggressor and not the second? You stated that 'I was correct in inferring it's all about how we teach our children' When does what we tried to teach our children become no longer valid?

  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!

    • I agree – majority of it is defense over-reaching and the defendant malingering. It is very difficult to reach the threshold of insanity, however, and I am not condident that Druery's team will be able to prove it. Mental illness alone, as I stated, above, is not sufficient to argue lack of willful intent. Thumbs up Brian…

    • Have you and Thomas forgotten he's fighting for his life. I'm sure he'll grasp at any straws he can. Oh forgive me I failed to take into account that your both for capital punishment you wouldn't want him to be allowed any straws. Well heck he took a life shouldn't you be allowed to take his. Didn't your mother ever teach you that two wrongs don't make a right? Oh wait, forgive me again, as long as capital punishment is in affect it's not wrong for you you have the backing of the government. Well lucky you!

      • Your heart is in the right place Guest, and I commend you for that – but your logic (how you reason to save his life) would not withstand legal scrutiny. Legal scrutiny is unfortunately, what AIUSA has to overcome…

        • Legal scrutiny? By law isn't taking a life wrong? I imagine any who commits murder did not look to their conscience first, but shouldn't we? I can assume what your thinking: by committing murder they forfeited their lives. I'm sure you know that the definition of conscience is 'the awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one's conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong'. I fail to see any justification to us choosing to do to them what they been have found guilty of. The only reason my aforementioned assumption would even be taken into consideration is because capital punishment is legal, but should it be? Look to your own conscience. They have already ignored theirs, if they even had one to begin with, but do you really want to ignore yours?

          • When I 'reason to save a life' I am not using logic. That is solely a legal stand point. Once something has become "law" your logic against theirs is all you can use as a defense. When I made my decision to become anti capital punishment I looked to my conscience. What I felt was moral and what was not. I have to admit I have never been a victim of a serious crime and pray that I never am. If someone took the life of one of my children my first instinct would be to say "Fry them!" but that would be a knee jerk reaction and more along the lines of revenge and, don't forget, make me a hypocrite. Who really benefits from sentencing someone to death? Us? Only if we were looking to revenge or felt incapable of keeping them confined. Them? Once put to death their 'punishment' is over. Their families have now become victims to our actions. To me having someone pining after something they cannot have is more fitting. Problem is the justice system seems to be giving more and more privileges to those they felt necessary to confine. Why is that?

  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.

    • It is so nice to read your comments. For a site that is pushing against capital punishment there doesn't seem to be many people that are focusing on the issue. They all seem to be arguing about guilt or innocence. If death is to be the ultimate result why would anyone admit to anything. And haven't all the people on death row already been found guilty? Their fight is ultimately for their lives. If it was wrong for them to take a life what makes it right for us to?

    • Put the murderers together in for life. Good idea Vicky! This way they would just murder one another and society would not have this burden!!!!

  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…

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