Facts in Penry case
- Petitioner was charged with capital murder. He was found competent to stand trial, although a psychologist testified that he was mildly to moderately retarded and had the mental age of a 6 1/2-year-old. At the guilt-innocence phase of the trial, petitioner raised an insanity defense. penalty phase jury was instructed to consider all the evidence introduced at trial in answering the following "special issues": 1. deliberate, 2. threat to society, 3. killing unreasonable. The trial court rejected petitioner's request for jury instructions
- defining the terms in the special issues and authorizing a grant of mercy based upon the existence of mitigating circumstances.
Penry's plea for certiorari
- death sentence violated the Eighth Amendment first, because the jury was not adequately instructed to consider all of his mitigating evidence and because the special issues' terms were not defined in such a way
- that the jury could consider and give effect to that evidence in answering them; and, second, because it is cruel and unusual punishment to execute a mentally retarded person with petitioner's mental ability.
Holding in Penry case
Death sentence for mentally retadred accused is not prohibted by 8th amendment but the accused is allowed to use mitigating factors.
O' Connnor's opinion for Penry case
- 1. Granting petitioner relief on his claim that when mitigating evidence of mental retardation and an abused childhood is presented, Texas juries
- must, upon request, be given instructions that allow them to give effect to that mitigating evidence in determining whether to impose the death
- penalty, would not create a "new rule" which, under Teague v. Lane
- 2. it cannot be said that executing capital murderers who are mentally retarded violates the Eighth Amendment. "mental age" is an insufficient basis for a categorical Eighth Amendment rule, since it is imprecise, does not adequately account for individuals
Scalia's opinion for Penry case
Scalia rejects the death pentaly for Penry
Facts in Foucha case
- Foucha, an insanity acquittee, returned to the mental institution to which he had been committed, ruling that he was dangerous on the basis of, inter alia, a doctor's testimony that he had recovered from the
- drug-induced psychosis from which he suffered upon commitment, and was "in good shape" mentally; that he had, however, an antisocial personality, a condition that is not a mental disease and is untreatable. Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was not violated by the statutory provision permitting confinement of an insanity acquittee
- based on dangerousness alone.
Holding in Foucha case
- Louisiana statute violates the Due Process Clause because it allows an insanity acquittee to be committed to a mental institution until he is
- able to demonstrate that he is not dangerous to himself and others, even though he does not suffer from any mental illness.
White's opinion in Foucha case
- He is entitled to release when he has recovered his sanity or is no longer dangerous. Keeping him against his will in a mental institution is improper absent a
- determination in civil commitment proceedings of current mental illness and dangerousness. Entitled to constitutionally adequate procedures to establish the grounds for his confinement. Jackson v. Indiana. Due Process Clause bars certain arbitrary, wrongful government actions.
Thomas's opinion in Foucha case
- JUSTICE THOMAS, dissenting, suggests that there was no issue of the
- standards for release before us in Jones. The issue in that case, however, was whether an insanity acquittee "must be released because he has been hospitalized for a period longer than he might have served in prison had he been convicted. This would be so even though, as in this case, the court's finding of
- dangerousness is based solely on the detainee's antisocial personality, that apparently has caused him to engage in altercations from time to time.
Facts in Atkins case.
- Atkins was convicted of capital murder and related crimes by a Virginia
- jury and sentenced to death. Affirming, the Virginia Supreme Court relied on Penry v. Lynaugh in rejecting Atkins' contention that he could not be sentenced to death because he is mentally retarded.
Holding in Atkins case
Executions of mentally retarded criminals are "cruel and unusual punishments" prohibited by the Eighth Amendment
Stevens opinion in Atkins
- That death is not a suitable punishment for a mentally retarded criminal. Punishment is excessive and that the Constitution "places a substantive restriction on the State's power to take the life" of a mentally
- retarded offender
Holding in Riggins case
Forced adminstration of drugs during trial violated rights under 6th and 14th amendements.
Facts in Riggins case
- When petitioner Riggins, while awaiting a Nevada trial on murder and robbery charges, complained of hearing voices and having sleep problems, a psychiatrist prescribed the antipsychotic drug. Riggins made a motion to suspend drugs arguing that its use infringed upon his freedom, that its effect on his
- demeanor and mental state during trial would deny him due process, and that he had the right to show jurors his true mental state when he offered an insanity defense.
O' Connor opinion in Riggins case
- Riggins' Eighth Amendment argument that the drug's administration denied him the opportunity to show jurors his true mental condition at the sentencing hearing was not raised below or in the petition for
- certiorari and, thus, will not be considered by this Court. A pretrial detainee has an interest in avoiding involuntary administration of antipsychotic drugs that is protected under the Due Process Clause.
Thomas opinion in Riggins case
- The record does not reveal any other form of unfairness relating to the purported side effects of Mellaril. Riggins has failed to allege specific facts to support his claim that he could not participate effectively in his defense. He has not stated how he would have directed his counsel to examine or
- cross-examine witnesses differently. He has not identified any testimony or instructions that he did not understand.
Facts in Jackson case
After finding that petitioner "lack[ed] comprehension sufficient to make his defense," the court ordered petitioner committed until such time as the health department could certify petitioner's sanity to the court.
Holding in Jackson case
- Indiana deprived petitioner of equal protection. Indiana's indefinite commitment of a criminal defendant solely on account of his lack of capacity to stand trial violates due process. Such a defendant cannot be held more than the reasonable period of time
Evolution of insanity test 4
- M'NAUGHTEN TEST: If a person knows right from wrong. Incapable of controling urges. Relies on defect of reasoning.
- IRRESISTIBLE IMPULSE: Person can't be accountable because the act was a product of mental defect.
- DIMISHED CAPACITY: Person could not understand wrongness.
- THE INSANITY DEFENSE REFORM ACT OF 1984: insanity defendant must show that his mental disease or defect is "severe." burden to the defendant to prove with clear and convincing evidence that he was legally insane at the time of the crime.
- In 1981, John Hinckley Jr. shot then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan, a secret service agent, a Washington police officer, and Reagan's press secretary James Brady. Hinckley claimed that he was trying to impress
- the actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was infatuated. A jury acquitted Hinckley of 13 assault, murder, and weapons counts,
- finding him not guilty by reason of insanity. There was an immediate public outcry against what many perceived to be a loophole in the
- justice system that allowed an obviously guilty man to escape punishment. There were widespread calls for the abolishment, or at least the substantial revision, of the insanity plea.
Facts in Eakin case
- That a state statute imposing a new period of limitations in which to bring a claim, as applied to bar plaintiff's claim, violated the state constitution, and that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had the power to
- declare the statute void.
Holding in Eakin case
That the state supreme court has the power to review legislative acts and, if contrary to the state constitution, declare such acts void.
Justice Gibson opinion in Eakin case
- Justice Gibson countered that a constitution may be better preserved by the citizens of the state, and not the courts. He reasoned that "it rests with the people, in whom full and sovereign power resides to
- correct abuses in legislation, by instructing their representatives to repeal the obnoxious act." He reasoned that any powers not expressly
- granted in a constitution are reserved to the people, who are the ultimate sovereigns in a democratic regime. Thus, he concluded, while it
- may be wise to allow the courts to exercise this power, the people, in forming the constitution, did not do so, and the courts may not do so on
- their own.
Facts in Marbury case
William Marbury had been commissioned justice of the peace in the District of Columbia by President John Adams. When the new administration did not deliver the commission, Marbury sued James Madison, Jefferson's Secretary of State.
Holding in Marbury case
- Chief Justice John Marshall held that, although Marbury was entitled to the commission, the statute that was the basis of the particular remedy
- sought was unconstitutional because it gave the Supreme Court authority that was implicitly denied it by Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution. The decision established the doctrine of judicial review, which
- recognizes the authority of courts to declare statutes unconstitutional.
Facts in Ex Parte case
William H. McCardle was the editor of a local newspaper, the Vicksburg Times. McCardle published various articles criticizing Reconstruction. McCardle was arrested.
Holding in Ex Parte case
Yes. The Constitution gives the Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction (power of a court to review decisions and change outcomes of decisions of lower courts.), but it gives Congress the express power to make exceptions to that appellate jurisdiction.Yes. The Court must always determine first if it is has jurisdiction to review a case.
Holding in Valley Forge case
Respondents do not have standing, either in their capacity as taxpayers or as citizens, to challenge the conveyance in question. Standing is ability of a party to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged to support that party's participation in the case.
Facts in Valley Forge case
- Respondents, an organization dedicated to the separation of church and State and several of its employees, brought suit in Federal District
- Court, challenging the conveyance on the ground that it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and alleging that each member of respondent organization "would be deprived of the fair and constitutional use of his (her) tax dollars.
Holding in Plyer case
- A Texas statute which withholds from local school districts any state funds for the education of children who were not "legally admitted" into the United States, and which authorizes local school districts to deny
- enrollment to such children, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Facts in Plyer case
- This is a class action, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in September 1977, on behalf of certain school-age children of Mexican origin residing in Smith County, Tex., who could not establish that they had been legally admitted into the United States. The action complained of the exclusion of plaintiff children from the public
- schools of the Tyler Independent School District.
Plyer V Doe Strict scrunity
Suspect class or classification of a group. State has to demostrate there is a compelling intrest for law.