Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Arguments in Florida Death Penalty Case Hall v. Florida Concerning the Definition of “Mental Retardation”

On October 21st, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the death penalty case Hall v. Florida concerning the definition of “mental retardation”* (intellectual disability) which states may use in deciding whether an individual with that disability is protected by the Court’s 2002 decision in Atkins v. Virginia, that execution of people with intellectual disability (ID) is unconstitutional. The Arc hopes the Court will use the opportunity to clarify its landmark decision barring the execution of people with ID and prevent states from using an artificial “ceiling” of a particular IQ score to determine whether someone does or does not have an ID.

[*Although terminology has widely changed to intellectual disability, the Atkins decision and many other death penalty cases still use the older term.]