Capital punishment is one of the most hotly debated issues in the criminal justice system. At some point throughout history, nearly every state has fought to amend laws concerning capital punishment, including Georgia. Recently, Florida has made headlines after a lengthy battle with the U.S. Supreme Court regarding death row and disabled defendants. According to media accounts, Florida and other states have made it incredibly difficult for defendants to prove that they are mentally disabled, and therefore, have been exercising capital punishment on these individuals.
After a lengthy battle between the state and the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to execute individuals who are intellectually disabled. While this particular case only addressed the issue in Florida, the impact of the verdict has been felt nationwide. Georgia is among the states now being challenged on the matter. In fact, Georgia has been preparing to execute a death row defendant, having not proven that there is any evidence to follow Florida’s example by commuting the sentence.
Several psychiatric professionals, who all have deemed him intellectually disabled, have evaluated the defendant highlighted at the heart of the recent media flurry. However, Georgia’s standard for proving mental disability is beyond difficult, and therefore, the defendant remains on death row with his fate uncertain.
Unfortunately, Georgia’s challenging guidelines for proving intellectual disability have not been specifically called into question, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has reiterated the fact that executing “mentally retarded” defendants is unconstitutional. The precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court has not been deemed sufficient to overrule current Georgia law. Like most elements of capital punishment, its applicability to defendants who are mentally disabled remains a hotly debated topic that likely will not be resolved in the immediate future.
Crime and Punishment Affects Everyone
The elements of crime and punishment do not discriminate against anyone, no matter what their age, gender, race, or cognitive ability. What is fundamentally applicable to everyone, however, are the provisions set forth in the U.S. Constitution, which is designed to protect the legal rights of American citizens, even those accused of criminal activity. It is important that anyone in Georgia accused of a serious crime act quickly in mounting a strong criminal defense. Without a competent, aggressive criminal defense, defendants can find themselves subject to expensive fines, lengthy prison sentences, and other penalties.
Individuals who suffer from a mental disability can greatly benefit from the aid of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Criminal cases involving these individuals are often complicated and lengthy, and require additional support in order to be successful. Fortunately, Abt Law Firm, LLC is prepared to fight for the rights of any client, no matter how complicated the case, and get results. Located in Atlanta, our office serves clients throughout Georgia, and is well versed in current Georgia law, as well as the processes and procedures of local court systems. Our criminal defense attorney knows what it takes to negotiate the best outcome possible for your case.
Avoid Death Row with a Strong Criminal Defense
At Abt Law Firm, LLC, our Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney is prepared to fight for the rights of his clients, no matter how complicated the case may be. For the convenience of our clients, our office is available 24/7 by telephone. Additionally, we happily offer free consultations in our office, over the telephone, or at the jail if you are incarcerated. To fight for your rights and avoid death row, call Abt Law Firm, LLC right now by calling (678) 582-2272.