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


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



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.