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The Champion

August 2007 , Page 8 

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By Jack King

Read more NACDL News columns.

Supreme Court Blocks Execution of Schizophrenic

Defense lawyers, legal scholars, and mental health advocates breathed a sigh of relief June 28 when the Supreme Court narrowly reversed the case of a mentally ill Texas death row inmate. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) applauded the ruling for upholding centuries of “compassionate precedent” over recent attempts to streamline death sentences in the state and federal courts.

In Panetti v. Quarterman, petitioner Scott Louis Panetti had been found competent to stand trial and was convicted of capital murder, despite evidence of psychotic episodes dating back years. On death row, his condition worsened, and although it was alleged that Panetti knew the state intended to execute him for the murders of his wife’s parents, it was not credibly disputed that Panetti now believes that the state’s reason is a “sham,” and that the state actually wants to kill him to stop him from “preaching.” Mot

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