† Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice, is contributing editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.
“[T]he Eighth Amendment prohibits a State from carrying out a sentence of death upon a prisoner who is insane.” Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U. S. 399, 409–410 (1986) . ~ Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in Panetti v. Quarterman (2007)
Andre Thomas is Both Mad and Now Blind, As is the System About to Murder Him…
by nancy a heitzeg
Much of the nation continues to move away from the machinery of death ; Death Penalty Information Center reports a near record low number of death sentences and executions as well as additional states considering abolition. Still, Texas marches on. The state continued to lead the nation in both executions and , perhaps, controversy, including sending to death in defiance of Atkins v Virginia, one Marvin Wilson, IQ 61.
And, now, Andre Thomas – a man with a documented life-long history of extreme mental illness, a man who, hearing the voice of God, killed his estranged wife and 2 children , a man who himself then later removed first his right eye, according to Biblical proscriptions, then later removed his left, and ate it – awaits word from a federal district court in Beaumont, Texas as to whether he is sane enough to die.