Mentally disabled man granted last minute stay of execution
Warren Hill, a 53-year-old death row inmate with severe learning disabilities, was just 30 minutes away from receiving a lethal injection from the state of Georgia Tuesday evening when he learned of the stay of execution from the federal appeals court for the 11th circuit.
As Salon noted on Monday, all medical specialists who have examined Hill -- a death row inmate of 16 years --have now concluded that he is unfit to face the death penalty. A 2002 supreme court ruling prohibits executions of "mentally retarded" prisoners as a breach of constitutional protections cruel and unusual punishment. Hill has nonetheless twice been within hours of scheduled death since 2011 before an appeals court has ordered a stay. Georgia is noted by experts as having a problematically high bar for proving mental unfitness for execution.
The Guardian noted how Hill's case has prompted less public outrage than Georgia's execution in 2011 of Troy Davis -- a man put to death for murder despite the majority of witnesses in his trial recanting their original testimonies: