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Reading is difficult. As a writer, I help the reader every way I can think of. As a reader, I work hard not to miss the big things in the middle of the road.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Should the CCA Apply a Standard Currently Being Reviewed by SCOTUS?

Today's case is Us Carnell Petetan, Jr. v. State of Texas, ____ S.W.3d _____, No. AP-77,038, (Tex. Crim. App. Mar. 8, 2017). Petetan was convicted and sentenced to death in the 19th Judicial District in Waco. A CCA appeal is automatic.
The Court's opinion was written by Presiding Judge Sharon Keller and joined by all the judges except Judge Elsa Alcala, who wrote a dissent on a single issue-- that Petetan's automatic appeal as to whether or not he had too low an I.Q. to be executed was not ripe for decision, because Moore v. Texas No. 15-797 (pet. granted June 6, 2016, argued Nov. 29, 2016).had been accepted by the Supreme Court of the United States and argued as to whether Texas’s legal standard for determining intellectual disability violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against the execution of intellectually disabled people. She said that SCOTUS's decisions in Atkins v. Virginia 536 U.S. 304 (2002) and Hall v. Florida, 134 S. Ct. 1986 (2014) signal that any assessment of intellectual disability must be informed by, and cannot be untethered from, the current medical diagnostic framework for assessing intellectual disability, but this Court’s standard in Ex parte Briseno, 135 S.W.3d 1, 4-5 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004). has strayed from that requirement.
The majority held that that there was sufficient evidence to find that Petetan intentionally killed his wife while he was kidnapping his wife and her daughter.