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Georgia death row inmate petitions court for stay of execution

Warren Hill, a Georgia death row inmate with an undisputed IQ of 70, filed motions on Monday for a stay of execution with the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website; motion] and the US Supreme Court [official website; motion]. In February, the Eleventh Circuit and the Court of Appeals of Georgia [official website] issued a stay on Hill's execution [JURIST report] just minutes before he was scheduled to be executed so the court could consider whether evidence of his mental retardation was new and could be a basis for an appeal. However, the Eleventh Circuit lifted the stay [JURIST report] in April, finding that Hill's claim of mental retardation was already presented, and that his claim does not address his actual guilt or innocence, meaning that it cannot be further reviewed. Hill is now scheduled to be executed [AJC report] on Monday, July 15 at 7PM EST at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia.

Hill was sentenced to death for the 1990 murder of a fellow inmate while serving a life sentence for killing his girlfriend in 1986. His execution has been stayed several times. The Eleventh Circuit granted the latest stay in February, hours after the Supreme Court denied [JURIST report] Hill's petition for certiorari. Hill's appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court [official website] was denied [JURIST report] earlier that month. Last July the Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously granted a stay of execution [JURIST report] 90 minutes before Hill was scheduled to be executed, in order to consider the state's new single-dose lethal injection protocol. In a separate order the court also denied Hill's request to hear his appeal of a Butts County Superior Court ruling, which held that Hill had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt [JURIST report] that he is mentally disabled, and that the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard itself is constitutional. The US Supreme Court ruled in Atkins v. Virginia [opinion] that the execution of mentally retarded individuals is cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment [text].

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