Supreme Court Rules On IQ Cutoff For Death Row Inmates

May 27, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday it’s unconstitutional to draw a definite line on mental disability in death penalty cases.

There are a handful of U.S. states with laws that say death row inmates with IQ test results above 70 cannot be considered mentally disabled.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled those laws are unconstitutional. The high court says death row inmates can claim mental disability even if their IQ scores are above 70.

Although Arizona has a similar cutoff of 70, the state still allows the defense to introduce other evidence of intellectual disability for such cases during sentencing hearings.