Cases & Deals

Former judges and law enforcement officials submit amicus curiae brief in U.S. Supreme Court challenging constitutionality of Florida's standard for measuring intellectual disability in capital cases

Client(s) Former Judges and Law Enforcement Officials

On behalf of 44 former judges and law enforcement officials, Jones Day filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Florida's standard for determining intellectual disability in capital cases. Under Florida's system, a person with an obtained IQ score above 70 is categorically barred from demonstrating mental retardation, notwithstanding the inherent measurement error in IQ tests, and regardless of how severe the individual's limitations in adaptive functioning may be. The amicus brief argued that Florida's standard undermines the Supreme Court's decision in Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), which held that the Eighth Amendment forbids executing persons with mental retardation. The amicus brief further argued that allowing Florida to impose a stricter standard for determining intellectual disability than the vast majority of other States threatens to undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system.

The Court heard oral argument on March 3, 2014, and the matter is currently pending.

The signatories to the amicus brief, representing numerous States and both political parties, included former federal circuit court judges (John Gibbons, Nathaniel Jones, and Timothy Lewis), former federal district judges (Lourdes G. Baird, William G. Bassler, Michael Burrage, Edward Cahn, Nancy Gertner, Stephen M. Orlofsky, James Robertson, and Ricardo Urbina), former state supreme court justices (James G. Exum Jr., Norman S. Fletcher, Joseph Grodin, Gerald Kogan, Michael Zimmerman), former United States Attorneys (A. Bates Butler III, Robert Cleary, Michael H. Dettmer, W. Thomas Dillard, Asa Hutchinson, Kenneth J. Mighell, James F. O’Neill, Terry Pechota, Richard J. Pocker, Stephen H. Sachs, Thomas Sullivan, Larry Thompson, James J. West), and former states attorney general (William G. Broaddus, W. J. Michael Cody, Richard Cullen, J. Joseph Curran, Robert J. Del Tufo, Mark Earley, Jim Petro, Stephen Rosenthal, Anthony F. Troy, John Van de Camp, and Mark White).

Freddie Lee Hall v. State of Florida, No. 12-10882 (U.S.)