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.

The majority, in State v. Jimenez, A-75-2006, rejected prosecutors’ arguments that the jury must be unanimous. The court held per curiam that mental retardation is analogous to a mitigating factor, which the U.S. and New Jersey supreme courts have held does not need to be decided unanimously.

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