Georgia is scheduled to execute Warren Lee Hill on Monday for fatally beating another inmate in 1990 while serving a life sentence for killing his girlfriend. This will be Georgia’s first execution since the state executed Troy Anthony Davis.
The case is making international headlines because Hill has an undisputed intellectual disability, according to Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penalty
“Georgia’s legal system has once more brought shame and embarrassment to our state, this time by failing to intervene and protect those who are most vulnerable. We continue to set the bar for the worst criminal justice practices in the country,” Kathryn Hamoudah, of Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said in a statement.
In 2002, the United States Supreme Court banned the execution of those with intellectual disabilities because their unique disability places them at “special risk of wrongful execution.” However, the Supreme Court’s ruling did not set the legal standard by which to determine if someone is intellectually disabled.
Georgia is the only state in the country to impose the law’s heaviest burden of proof, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” on those seeking to prove they have an intellectual disability and are thus ineligible for execution. “Proving something beyond doubt is a nearly impossible legal obstacle to overcome. It would probably be easier to prove the existence of unicorns or aliens on Mars,” said legal expert and human rights attorney Terrica Ganzy in a statement.
Several jurors who sat on Hill’s original jury have since stated under oath that they would have sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole had that been an option at the time of his 1991 trial.
Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty also report a representative for the victim’s family, has said “his family feels strongly that persons with any kind of significant mental disabilities should not be put to death. We do not want Mr. Hill to be executed and we believe a sentence of life without the possibility of parole is an appropriate and just resolution of this case.”