Texas court removes inmate from death row over intellectual disability
© WikiMedia (Michael Coghlan)
Texas court removes inmate from death row over intellectual disability

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday changed Juan Lizcano’s death sentence to life in prison because of intellectual disability. Lizcano joins the list of five other inmates taken off Texas’s death row since the US Supreme Court invalidated Texas’s method for determining intellectual disability of death row inmates.

Lizcano killed Dallas police officer Brian Jackson in 2005. During the ensuing trial, evidence arose regarding Lizcano’s intellectual disability. Despite this evidence, the jury sentenced him to death.

Although the US Supreme Court had already banned the execution of intellectually disabled individuals, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals had originally rejected Lizcano’s appeal based on his claim of intellectual disability. However, after the 2017 Supreme Court ruling that Texas was using outdated and inappropriate methods to determine intellectual disability, the Texas court decided to reconsider Lizcano’s appeal.

Based on the trial court’s recommendation after a new hearing, the Texas Court of Appeals changed Lizcano’s sentence to life imprisonment without parole.