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Georgia Prepares to Execute Mentally Disabled Man

HeadlinesFeb 19, 2013

In the United States, Georgia is set to put a man to death tonight despite consensus among medical specialists that he is mentally disabled. Warren Hill was sentenced to die in 1991 for killing a fellow prisoner. All three doctors who originally said Hill did not meet the legal definition of "mentally retarded" have since reversed their opinion, saying their original evaluation was "extremely and unusually rushed" and did not allow for an accurate assessment of his condition. Hill’s lawyer says his mental capacity peaked at a sixth-grade level. While the Supreme Court bans the execution of mentally disabled people, it allows states leeway to decide who qualifies. Georgia is the only state that requires a defendant to prove such disabilities beyond a reasonable doubt. Hill would be the first Georgia prisoner to be executed since the killing of Troy Anthony Davis prompted global outrage in 2011. Davis was killed despite major doubts about his guilt after seven of the nine non-police witnesses in his case recanted their testimony.

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