CALL 205.538.3340

The Law Office of J.D. Lloyd Logo Because There’s Hope After the Trial


After The Trial Blog

The After The Trial blog presents insights on ongoing and recent trials around the state of Alabama, including weekly criminal law round-ups.

Supreme Court Update - New Protections Against Executing The Mentally Disabled

J.D. Lloyd - Thursday, March 30, 2017


Moore v. Texas (U.S. Supreme Court, March 28/2017)


Moore was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. In post-trial proceedings, a circuit court concluded that Mr. Moore was intellectually disabled and, thus, ineligible for execution under Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002) and Hall v. Florida, 572 U.S. ___ (2014). The circuit court based its decision on the most current medical guidelines. However, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (“CCA”) rejected that conclusion and re-instated Moore’s death sentence. The CCA concluded that the circuit court erred in not following factors laid out in Ex parte Briseno, 135 S. W. 3d 1( 2004), which relied upon medical authority from 1992. Moore appealed, claiming the CCA’s reasoning violated the Eighth Amendment.



In Atkins, the Supreme Court opened the door to allow states to develop their own tests for determining intellectual disability and ineligibility for the death penalty. However, as the states have developed different tests, the Court has indicated it will review these procedures to determine whether the states have created “an unacceptable risk that persons with intellectual disability will be executed.” Hall v. Florida, 572 U.S. at ___. Here, the Court took aim at Texas’ Atkins test for determining intellectual disability which was centered around out-dated medical information and court-created “factors” that have been widely criticized.


In holding that Mr. Moore was ineligible for the death penalty under Atkins, the circuit court relied on medical diagnostic standards coming from the 11th edition of the American Association on Intellectual and Development Disabilities (“AAIDD”) clinical manual and the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (“DSM-5”) published by the American Psychiatric Association. The court followed the “generally accepted, uncontroversial intellectual-disability diagnostic definitions” in reaching their conclusion. Basically, the circuit court relied on the most up-to-date diagnostic material in assessing Moore.


The CCA rejected the circuit court’s conclusion and chastised it for not applying the Briseno test for determining intellectual disability. The Briseno test was based upon the 9th edition of the AAIDD and included a seven-factor test that was not grounded in any medical authority -- just a judicial creation. The CCA recognized that the standards in the AAIDD may have changed, but concluded that the Briseno test “remained adequately informed by the medical community’s diagnostic framework.”


The Supreme Court concluded that the CCA’s reliance on out-dated medical information and “factors” that have been widely criticized and rejected in the legal and medical community could not comport with the Eighth Amendment as well as Atkins and Hall. While the State’s have leeway in formulating their own approach to addressing Atkins claims, the cornerstone of any scheme must be “the medical community’s diagnostic framework.”



Read the decision here



If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.


Recent Posts


Guy Terrell Junior fort payne alabama debit card skimming scams kenneth eugene billups mcwilliams v dunn trussville alabama pruitt v state court of criminal appeals implied consent church robberies drug trafficking, netflix morris alabama Lucky D Arcade the mannequin challenge 2016 election, bomb threat christmas shooting armed robbery utah supreme court apprendi v new jersey shooting death mulga alabama sheffield v state moving violations Fentanyl unlawful manufacturing Kareem Dacar Gaymon criminal justice reform, Malone v State public assistance fraud mobile alabama Etowah County Alabama, minor offenses court of criminal appeal releases mountain brook alabama judicial override keith v state fultondale alabama department of justice christian guitierez attempted murder alabama supreme court talladega superspeedway narcotics investigation blount county alabama court systems, Easter concealed carry hanceville alabama forced isolation breaking and entering smith v state Glaze v State operation crackdown drug busts debtor prison mount olive alabama clarence thomas car accident st clair county alabama benjamin todd acton editorial adger alabama animal cruelty beylund v north dakota kidnapping shooting endangerment of a child underage drinking russell calhoun terell corey mcmullin identity theft drug smuggling mccalla alabama Pleasant Grove Alabama birmingham alabama assault fraudulent checks boaz alabama Woods v State calhoun county alabama Mike Hubbard 28 U.S.C. § 2254 bailey v us home repair fraud arson warrantless blood draws self defense Xavier Beasley levins v state homicide Dylann Roof constitutional law, state of alabama alabama fairfield alabama, birchfield v north dakota Wesley Adam Whitworth ferguson missouri marion county avondale alabama sentencing law and policy blog summaries Walker County Alabama street racing Donald Trump, heritage christian university Kay Ivey lethal injection drugs sixth amendment Eutaw Alabama huntsville alabama robberies embezzlement sexual assault anniston alabama, hurst mandamus fraud foley alabama montgomery alabama operation bullseye West Alabama aziz sayyed battles v state nicholas hawkins baltimore city circuit court huntsville abuse burglary cherokee county alabama lethal injection nathan woods LWOP gadsden alabama Jefferson County Alabama death penalty kimberly alabama warrior alabama betton v state Thomas Hardiman campbell v state abandonment domestic abuse state of arizona Tracie Todd domestic violence illegal gun carry lauderdale county alabama social media stanley brent chapman greene county alabama eleventh circuit ruling limestone county alabama john earle redfearn IV v state hoax destructive devices New York Times brendan dassey murder pinson alabama bessemer alabama theft of property Benn v State drug activity fake kidnapping, steve avery midazolam homicide rate drug possession, illegal gambling scotus constitutional violations CCA update Alonzo Ephraim mike gilotti felony assaults hall v florida springville alabama adnan syed, shelby county tarrant alabama making a murderer dora alabama § 13A-3-23(d) immunity hearing theft asia mcclain brady v maryland aiding and abetting texas south carolina baldwin county alabama road rage Sardis Alabama banville v state peyton pruitt oneonta alabama hoover alabama Stephen Breyer decatur alabama pell city alabama William Pryor economic growth OJ Simpson Made in America Briarwood Presbyterian Church brookside alabama madison alabama hurst v florida ring v arizona gun rights US Supreme Court Update edwards v arizona negligent homicide drug crimes sarah koenig towles v state § 13A-3-23 legende v state drug seizure death penalty, crime of passion capital punishment Joshua Reese eugene lee jones v state Alabaster alabama eric sterling ake v oklahoma SCOTUS, criminal mischief maryland court of special appeals lamar county eighth amendment, heflin alabama Gardendale Alabama tuscaloosa alabama habeas corpus relief Ingmire v State ex parte briseno bernard v north dakota Neil Gorsuch Samuel Alito Adamsville alabama department of justice, capital murder fourth amendment OJ Simpson Hillary Clinton, gun control Rule 32 moore v texas npr albertville alabama alfonso morris pelham alabama alabama criminal law roundup second amendment Shonda Walker, dothan alabama stoves v state utah v strieff cullman alabama shoplifting Marengo County Alabama capital offenses brendan dassey, steve avery, making a murderer, scotus, netflix jerry bohannon criminal justice brian fredick lucas Tommy Arthur executions rainbow city alabama morgan county alabama Justice Sotomayor dekalb county alabama florence alabama alabama law enforcement agency blountsville alabama strickland v washington parole serial abduction prostitution sting



These recoveries and testimonials are not an indication of future results. Every case is different, and regardless of what friends, family, or other individuals may say about what a case is worth, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances as they apply to the law. The valuation of a case depends on the facts, the injuries, the jurisdiction, the venue, the witnesses, the parties, and the testimony, among  other factors. Furthermore, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

Get Free Legal Advice  Contact us for a complimentary legal consultation

I am interested in scheduling a free legal consultation and receiving additional information.

Submitting Form...

The server encountered an error.

Thank you, your  entry has been  received.

© 2017 The Law Office of J.D. Lloyd, LLC. All Rights Reserved. |


As required by Rule 7.2(e), Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.