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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Don't Execute Schizophrenic Killers

By Sally L. Satel
Bloomberg View
Originally posted December 1, 2014

Is someone who was diagnosed with schizophrenia years before committing murder sane enough to be sentenced to death?

The government thinks so in the case of Scott L. Panetti, 56, who will die on Wednesday by lethal injection in Texas unless Governor Rick Perry stays the execution.

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This is unjust. It is wrong to execute, even to punish, people who are so floridly psychotic when they commit their crimes that they are incapable of correcting the errors by logic or evidence.

Yet Texas, like many other states, considers a defendant sane as long as he knows, factually, that murder is wrong. Indeed, Panetti’s jury, which was instructed to apply this narrow standard, may have been legally correct to reject his insanity defense because he may have known that the murders were technically wrong.

The entire article is here.