Two days after the execution of Warren Hill, a Georgia man whose lawyers said he had an intellectual disability, another prisoner is scheduled to die despite his attorneys making a similar argument.
The state of Texas is set to execute Robert Ladd, 57, on Thursday at 7 p.m. EST, unless the Supreme Court steps in.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Ladd, argues that he has an IQ of 67 and should not be executed, based on Supreme Court precedent banning the death penalty for those who are intellectually disabled.
"Texas and Georgia are two sides of the same coin," Brian Stull, Ladd's lead attorney, said in an email to The Huffington Post.
"Both standards are non-scientific, violating a recent ruling by the Supreme Court in Hall v. Florida requiring science to control these determinations," Stull's email continued. "And both tests pose grave risks of executing intellectually-disabled prisoners, as occurred this week in Georgia, and will occur if the Supreme Court does not intervene in this case."
But as Kelli Weaver, an assistant attorney general for the state of Texas, has pointed out in hearings, courts have already rejected the idea that Ladd's disability is grounds to spare him the death penalty.
That argument "has been repeatedly rejected and he argues neither a new factual basis nor a new legal basis on which the judgments of the state and federal courts should be questioned," Weaver said, according to the Associated Press.
Courts in a handful of states have adopted the standard that anyone with an IQ of 70 or below is considered intellectually disabled, although the Supreme Court has contested this view, with Justice Anthony Kennedy arguing that the standard wrongly posits "IQ score as final and conclusive evidence of a defendant’s intellectual capacity."
Ladd was convicted in the 1996 killing of an East Texas woman, 38-year-old Vicki Ann Garner. His attorneys have not contested his guilt.
The ACLU contends that Ladd's intellectual disability is well established.
In 1970, at age 13, he was described as "fairly obviously retarded" by the Texas Youth Commission.
The ACLU also notes that the psychiatrist who examined Ladd in 1970 has since reaffirmed his initial diagnosis in an affidavit, saying that his IQ test and "three separate interviews confirmed my diagnosis of mental retardation."
At age 36, Ladd became qualified for services at the Andrews Center in Tyler, Texas, which serves the intellectually disabled, the ACLU said.
"We ask the court to stay Mr. Ladd’s execution, and to summarily reverse the Texas courts," Stull said. "This will afford the Court an opportunity to finally rein in Texas' failure to protect the intellectually disabled from execution."