Sunset falls over the Florida Supreme Court building (Phil Sears)
With the execution scheduled next week, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected Death Row inmate John Ruthell Henry’s 11th-hour argument that he should be evaluated for possibly being intellectually disabled.
The argument came after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Florida improperly used a “rigid” IQ score of 70 in determining whether death row inmates are intellectually disabled, a term that has replaced mentally retarded in recent years.
The U.S. Supreme Court previously ruled it is unconstitutional to execute people who are intellectually disabled.
Henry’s attorney pointed to a test that showed the inmate’s IQ was 78 and suggested it could be as low as 73.
But the Florida Supreme Court, in a 6-0 decision ruled against Henry.
“Beyond Henry’s assertion of a single test score, he has not alleged any deficits in adaptive functioning or onset prior to age 18,” the standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court, the opinion said. “Indeed, having examined the record in this cause, we agree with the state that not one doctor over all the years of litigation has ever opined that Henry was mentally retarded or intellectually disabled.” Justice Peggy Quince was recused from the case.
Henry is scheduled to be executed Wednesday for the 1985 murder of his estranged wife, Suzanne Henry, in Pasco County.