Author Archive | Deirdre von Dornum

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

EDNY Update: Judge Garaufis Rules Ronell Wilson Cannot Be Executed in Light of Intellectual Disability

United States v. Ronell Wilson, 04-Cr-1016 (NGG), Mem. & Order (Dkt 1535) (Filed 3/15/16)

Ronell Wilson cannot be executed, Judge Garaufis found, despite twice being sentenced to death, because under the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Hall v. Florida, he is intellectually disabled, and, therefore, executing him would violate the Eighth Amendment and the Federal Death Penalty Act.  This is a stunning victory in so many ways, and the opinion is an important read in any case where there is a possibility that the defendant may be intellectually disabled.   The Second Circuit vacated Wilson’s first death sentence in 2010 because of prosecutorial misconduct in the penalty phase (if he were really remorseful, he would have gotten up here and told you that himself).

On remand for the new penalty phase proceeding, the defense argued that Wilson was intellectually disabled. Judge Garaufis conducted an Atkins hearing and concluded that …

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