Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Fla. Death Sentence Vacated Because Of Low IQ (WTH?!)
WESH 2 Orlando ^ | January 5, 2010

Posted on 01/05/2010 12:29:26 PM PST by greatdefender

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The death sentence of a Florida man convicted of the 1981 killing of a convenience store clerk has been vacated because his IQ is too low.

A judge in Daytona Beach last month signed an order setting aside the death sentence for Ted Herring.

Circuit Judge Joseph Will wrote in his decision that Herring has significant limitations in his functioning.

The state Attorney General's Office has appealed the decision to the Florida Supreme Court. If the order is affirmed, Herring will be sentenced to life in prison.

A 2002 Florida law prohibits the execution of anybody with an IQ below 70.

Herring was convicted in 1982 of killing clerk Norman Dale Hoeltzel at a 7-Eleven in Daytona Beach.


TOPICS: Local News; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: deathrow; iq; jail

1 posted on 01/05/2010 12:29:27 PM PST by greatdefender
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: greatdefender
A 2002 Florida law prohibits the execution of anybody with an IQ below 70.

Apparently, this does not prevent graduation from law school or being seated as a judge.

2 posted on 01/05/2010 12:31:11 PM PST by AmishDude
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: greatdefender

I’ve had an IQ test, I imagine it would quite easy to “play dumb” on the test if you wanted to save your butt from a death sentence.


3 posted on 01/05/2010 12:34:58 PM PST by apillar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: greatdefender

I think it was Denis Leary who dealt with this in his stand up work over a decade ago:

They say they can’t execute him because he doesn’t understand what he did. Well, if he doesn’t understand what he did, he doesn’t know that we’re going to kill him! Strap him into the chair and tell him it’s a ride!


4 posted on 01/05/2010 12:36:57 PM PST by Anitius Severinus Boethius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: greatdefender

It’s a “damn if you do and damn if you don’t” situation.

Clinton put a low IQ person to death when he was governor. This was never forgotten.

As the prisoner was being taken away, he was looking forward to returning to his cell to finish his dessert or something similar.


5 posted on 01/05/2010 12:48:25 PM PST by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: greatdefender

The death penalty is *not* punishment, since it is impossible for the recipient to “learn” from it. It is purely retribution and elimination of an undesirable component of society. The only function a death penalty recipient serves is as an example to others. Therefore the actual recipient’s intelligence (or lack thereof) has no bearing on the effectiveness of the sentence *on the recipient*. In other words, no one is too dumb to die for a crime they committed.


6 posted on 01/05/2010 12:49:28 PM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: greatdefender

P.S.

I didn’t know about the Florida law until now.


7 posted on 01/05/2010 12:51:48 PM PST by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: greatdefender

When the State Supreme Court in SC made a similar decision, every inmate on deathrow filed an appeal on those grounds.


8 posted on 01/05/2010 12:55:50 PM PST by mbynack (Retired USAF SMSgt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Little Pig
"In other words, no one is too dumb to die for a crime they committed."

Really? No one is too dumb to die for a crime they committed? That doesn't seem very likely. There are people that don't have the cognitive ability to understand how to dress themselves, or feed themselves who could conceivably murder someone. Should they be put to death?

It's seems to me that in a civil society, there must be at least some minimum capacity on the part of the defendant to understand the criminality of their actions. To be clear, an absence of cognizance ability to understand criminality doesn't equate to ignorance, which is no excuse under current law. As an example, I might not know that the speed limit is 65, but that doesn't absolve me of the ticket that I receive when driving 70. But, if I can't understand the concept of speeding or right & wrong and certainly murder, then it's tough to make a compelling argument for the death penalty in such instances.

I have no idea if this man is competent to understand his crime, but there certainly are people who lack the mental acuity to understand concepts as simple as death, or murder. I think it ignorant to pretend otherwise.

9 posted on 01/05/2010 1:15:28 PM PST by OldDeckHand
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: greatdefender
Did this murderer give Mr. Hoeltzel a qualifying test before killing him...

Herring possesses enough intelligence to coordinate the motor skills necessary for committing murder, and that's plenty for the death penalty.

Its a mistake not to kill him.

10 posted on 01/05/2010 1:16:42 PM PST by Semper Mark (Life is a series of sucker punches. Protect yourself at all times.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: greatdefender

Tell him to get up and lay on the Gurney. If he is smart enough to do that he is smart enough to get the needle.


11 posted on 01/05/2010 1:32:47 PM PST by Venturer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OldDeckHand

If someone with the intelligence level you describe kills someone, they would be much more likely to receive a conviction of involuntary manslaughter or some similar sentence. Someone who is capable, as this person was, of entering society functionally, and of executing a crime such as a robbery, has the mental capability of being held responsible for their actions. Further, the death penalty is a unique sentence. Neither the public nor the criminal has any expectation of rehabilitation as a result of receiving the punishment, and therefore ultimately it doesn’t matter to what depth they “understand the criminality of their actions”. By the same logic, we should never destroy dogs that begin injuring people, as they have no way at all of understanding the wrongness of their actions. It is the court’s function to determine what level of severity the crime implies. If the court sees fit at the time of the trial to accuse the defendant of murder, as opposed to manslaughter, negligent homicide, or death by misadventure, then the punishment range is similarly “in play”. In this case, I am castigating Florida for allowing the nonsensical IQ test as a threshold for imposing or excluding the death penalty, as an IQ test is far too easy to deliberately underperform on, and any criminal who gets into a potential death-penalty situation will be aware of the requirement and prepare accordingly.


12 posted on 01/05/2010 1:33:45 PM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: greatdefender

Can we then void the votes of all of those whose mental capacity is below that standard? After all, if that intellect is too low to be responsible for murder then it must be too low to responsibly vote.


13 posted on 01/05/2010 1:37:42 PM PST by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Little Pig
"By the same logic, we should never destroy dogs that begin injuring people, as they have no way at all of understanding the wrongness of their actions."

Dogs aren't people. Analogies to how we treat dogs - feral or otherwise - are completely irrelevant.

"It is the court’s function to determine what level of severity the crime implies."

No in American jurisprudence. The charges that are or are not brought is a determination left solely to the discretion of the prosecutor. It's the "court's" (to include judge and jury) responsibility to make a determination with respect to guilt or innocence of the charges that have been presented.

"I am castigating Florida for allowing the nonsensical IQ test as a threshold for imposing or excluding the death penalty, as an IQ test is far too easy to deliberately underperform on, and any criminal who gets into a potential death-penalty situation will be aware of the requirement and prepare accordingly."

Because of 2002 Supreme Court case called Atkins v Virginia, the FL court is bound by judicial precedent in this matter. Because of that decision, they have an obligation to protect the Eight Amendment rights of the accused. They came up with the best possible solution available given the current law, as imperfect as that solution may be.

14 posted on 01/05/2010 1:45:17 PM PST by OldDeckHand
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: AmishDude

The Florida statute was prompted by US Supreme Court decisions that forbid the execution of the mentally retarded. If not for the statute, Florida’s death penalty law would be more readily subject to challenge as unconstitutional.


15 posted on 01/05/2010 2:03:40 PM PST by Rockingham
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Little Pig

One other purpose: it eliminates recidivism in the particular instance.


16 posted on 01/05/2010 2:07:51 PM PST by ExGeeEye (P.U.M.A.--BC/BG!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Rockingham

I would also mention that a low IQ does not prevent you from being a Supreme Court justice either. I give as evidence Stephen Breyer.


17 posted on 01/05/2010 2:11:01 PM PST by AmishDude
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: OldDeckHand
There are people that don't have the cognitive ability to understand how to dress themselves, or feed themselves who could conceivably murder someone. Should they be put to death?

You won't like my answer.

A creature appearing to be a human being, having proven capable of lethal danger to society, should have the same right to a merciful end as a rabid dog.

18 posted on 01/05/2010 2:14:21 PM PST by ExGeeEye (P.U.M.A.--BC/BG!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: greatdefender

This is the new game the liberal defenders are pulling. They have come up with new ways to calculate the IQ to get people out of death sentences...watch for a lot more of this.


20 posted on 01/05/2010 2:50:53 PM PST by surfer (To err is human, to really foul things up takes a Democrat!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OldDeckHand
There are people that don't have the cognitive ability to understand how to dress themselves, or feed themselves who could conceivably murder someone. Should they be put to death?

If they murder someone with premeditation, or during the comission of a violent crime, certainly. How stupid they are is immaterial.

Killing them insures that they'll never do it again.

21 posted on 01/05/2010 2:51:55 PM PST by jimt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: Morgana

Who cares what his IQ is? If we have a death penalty and someone is sentenced and isn’t exonerated in any way...then why not enforce it regardless of how smart they are?

If they are a genius criminal should we kill them more slowly or something...lol...oh wait Obama, Van Jones want to hire those criminals...I almost forgot. I never understood the insanity or low IQ defense - the person still did the crime...they should do the time.

If we don’t have the stomach for a death penalty then just put them away for life.


23 posted on 01/05/2010 3:17:31 PM PST by surfer (To err is human, to really foul things up takes a Democrat!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: surfer
If we don’t have the stomach for a death penalty then just put them away for life.

That's what the Court did in this case. They didn't set him free, they reduced his death sentence to life imprisonment.

24 posted on 01/05/2010 3:23:06 PM PST by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Lurking Libertarian
But why even have the death penalty - the costs to prosecute, incarcerate and defend a death penalty conviction are very high if they are not going to make it stick and enforce it.
25 posted on 01/05/2010 3:43:09 PM PST by surfer (To err is human, to really foul things up takes a Democrat!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson