A defendant can escape the death penalty if he convinces a single juror that he is mentally retarded, a divided New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on Monday. In light of its finding that no unanimity is required, the majority altered its earlier view that retardation should be addressed in a separate proceeding, between the guilt and penalty phases. Instead, it should be decided during the penalty phase, the court said. That would allow a defendant as many as three chances to present mental retardation issues.
N.J. Justices Rule Death Penalty Barred if Single Juror Finds Defendant Mentally Retarded
New Jersey Law Journal
June 19, 2007