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Relating to the applicability of the death penalty to a capital offense committed by a person with an intellectual disability.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 1139 would prohibit a defendant who is a person with an intellectual disability from being sentenced to death. Evidence offered by either party for purposes of determining whether a defendant is a person with an intellectual disability must be consistent with prevailing medical standards for the diagnosis of intellectual disabilities.
Texas Action supports HB 1139 because it supports the principle of limited government. An effective criminal justice system is part of a limited government, and part of an effective criminal justice system is punishment that is proportional to the crime. An individual who the court determines to have an intellectual disability does not have the proper mental capacity to understand the nature of the capital offense they committed. This bill would also help rectify recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings invalidating Texas death sentences and the state's method of determining intellectual disability in death penalty cases.