Incompetency To Be Executed: Continuing Ethical Challenges & Time for a Change in Texas
Shannon, Brian D.
Scarano, VIctor R.
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Focuses on a small, but unique, group of death row inmates who have largely exhausted their post-conviction procedural rights and have a date set for execution but, while awaiting execution, have become incompetent to be executed because of serious mental illness. First reviews the constitutional requirement for execution competence, then identifies the scope of the ethical concerns related to this very challenging scenario, and addresses state and lower federal court decisions that have considered the issue, as well as United States Supreme Court opinions that have considered other, related medication issues concerning offenders with mental disorders. In particular, however, this Article will offer and discuss a possible legislative solution that the Texas Legislature could enact that would avoid the thorny ethical and legal issues that are at stake in such cases.