published Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Justices rule for death row inmates with low IQ

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    People walk on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington.
    Photo by Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says states must look beyond an intelligence test score in borderline cases of mental disability to determine whether a death row inmate is eligible to be executed.

The justices said in a 5-4 ruling Tuesday that Florida cannot rely solely on an IQ score above 70 to bar an inmate from claiming mental disability. Justice Anthony Kennedy said for the court that IQ tests have a margin of error and that inmates whose scores fall within the margin must be allowed to present other evidence of mental disability.

A score of 70 is widely accepted as a marker of mental disability, but medical professionals say people who score as high as 75 can be considered intellectually disabled because of the test's margin of error.

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