Death Watch: Bobby James Moore at SCOTUS
SCOTUS overturns Houston native’s death sentence
The U.S. Supreme Court sided 5-3 with Bobby James Moore, the death row inmate whose attorneys hoped to overturn his death sentence on the grounds of "intellectual disabilities." Moore was sentenced to death for the 1980 shooting of James McCarble during a botched robbery, though his attorneys claimed he's unfit for execution. (Intellectual incompetence did not bar inmates from execution until 2002.) A Texas appeals court had ruled Moore qualified as "intellectually disabled," but the state's highest criminal court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, declined the recommendation, citing mental health 1992 guidelines adopted by the CCA in 2004 – based, in part, on the character of Lennie from John Steinbeck's famous work of fiction Of Mice and Men – as opposed to more current medical guidelines. In a ruling vacating the CCA's judgment, SCOTUS Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that "adjudications of intellectual disability should be 'informed by the views of medical experts.'" The case now returns to the CCA, which will reconsider its initial ruling.