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


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



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.