In a decision that may prove to be a lightning rod in the debate over the use of the death penalty, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled 5-2 that any criminal defendant with mental impairments, short of being legally defined as "mentally retarded," can be executed for capital offenses. Justices ruled that those seeking waiver of the death penalty must show records noting a defendant's mental illness began before his or her 18th birthday. A dissenting justice accused the majority of being "draconian."
Pa. Justices: OK to Execute 'Mentally Deficient' People
The Legal Intelligencer
January 27, 2009