AUSTIN – Elroy Chester, who has repeatedly scored below 70 on IQ tests, outwitted Texas’ Governor Rick Perry yesterday in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. Chester’s reward for proving himself Perry’s intellectual superior: execution by lethal injection.
In 2002 the US Supreme Court famously ruled in Atkins v. Virginia that executing mentally retarded persons violates the Eighth Amendment. However, the Supreme Court left it to the states to devise their own standards for mental retardation.
Now, Texas has devised a nearly impossible standard for mental retardation. State Attorney General Greg Abbot explained, “If a person convicted of capital murder can whoop our esteemed governor in a debate, he’s smart enough to die for his crimes.”
Over 10 years after the famous Atkins ruling, Texas is poised to execute Chester, a man who is mentally retarded by any standard model: Typically a person is considered mentally retarded (“intellectually disabled” in contemporary psychological parlance) if he or she consistently scores lower than 70 on IQ tests. Texas, however, has found a way to ignore the IQ standard.
Critics of Texas’ new standard for mental retardation point out that Perry has been repeatedly romped in debates by school children, lab rats, and even an old pair of Converse sneakers.
Attorney Dina Rice of Houston’s Capital Attorney Service Exchange (CASE), a nonprofit group dedicated to providing quality legal services for indigents charged with capital murder, stated, “During the 2012 Republican primary, the whole nation saw how Governor Perry can easily lose any debate just by opening his mouth. If Michele Bachman can outshine Perry in a debate, it only makes sense that other intellectually disabled individuals will beat him as well.”
The State of Texas, however, is not swayed. “We got no problem killing a black convict who can outwit the governor in a debate, believe me, and it ain’t got a thing to do with race neither,” Abbot said.
While attorneys from CASE were recently able to push the execution date back from April 24 to June 12 due to Texas’ inability to correctly manage the technicalities of composing a death warrant, Chester’s objectively unconstitutional execution now appears to be inevitable.