California Supreme Court Implements Atkins
See this LA Times article, which begins:
The California Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday for dozens of condemned prisoners to escape their death sentences on the grounds they are mentally retarded, defining the disability more flexibly than prosecutors had wanted.The California Supreme Court's opinion can be found here.
Prosecutors, who fear a flood of petitions from death-row inmates, wanted the court to define retardation using a specific IQ level. They suggested 70 on a scale on which the average is 100. The court declined.
"IQ tests are insufficiently precise to utilize a fixed cutoff in this context," Justice Janice Rogers Brown wrote for the court.
Instead, the justices said, inmates could get hearings to challenge their death sentences as long as a qualified expert says they are retarded.