TN court: IQ not enough to rule mental disability

AP News
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Posted: Apr 11, 2011 4:56 PM
TN court: IQ not enough to rule mental disability

Tennessee judges can no longer rely on a standard IQ test score to see if a prisoner is too intellectually challenged to be executed.

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled on Monday that testimony from mental health experts also must be considered.

Tennessee law bars the execution of intellectually disabled people and an IQ score of 70 or below is one of several factors that determine it. However, the court says experts must also weigh in to say if the test score accurately reflects the defendant's functional IQ.

The decision comes from the case of a prisoner sentenced to death for a 1979 robbery and murder of a Memphis man.

One of his attorneys said federal courts and several other states already use expert testimony besides the IQ score.