The state of Florida is trying to reach a decision on whether or not they should execute Freddie Lee Hall for a gruesome murder he committed back in 1978. Hall has been on death row for a little more than 35 years for having kidnapped and killed a 21 year old pregnant woman that he abducted from a grocery store parking lot. The crime was the type that is hardly forgivable, but there is one little catch. Back in 2002 the Supreme Court ruled that it is not permissible for a state to execute any criminal who was deemed mentally disabled (Atkins v. Virginia). The problem with this ruling is that the Supreme Court failed to reach a conclusion on what “mentally disabled” means, and instead leaves that up to the states to decide.
Florida May Execute 68 Year Old Man With IQ Of 70
In most states, the IQ score required to be considered Mentally Disabled is a score of 75 or less. Florida, on the other hand, has their limit set even lower at only 70. Freddie Lee Hall has been tested many times over his lifetime to determine his Intelligence Quotient, and he has had scores ranging recently from 69 to 74. These types of scores would classify him as mentally disabled in other states beyond a reason of doubt. Florida still feels that because he is either at or above the 70 level, that he should be eligible for the death sentence.
The state of Florida believes that they have every right to continue with their plans to execute Freddie Lee Hall, as they believe that he should be classified more as only mildly disabled, rather than fully disabled. Florida has even argued that some states such as Texas do not even use IQ tests to determine the mental capacity of their death row inmates prior to execution, and instead make their rulings based on mental evaluations. IQ tests can be rigged, and are also not 100% accurate. While the tests are generally a good judge of someone’s capability to use reason and logic, a test taker could intentionally withhold proper answers in an attempt to sway the results in their own favor. An inmate on death row, facing the death penalty, would have good reason to attempt to score lower on the IQ test in hopes of obtaining a classification that would prevent them from being executed.
The moral and legal debate of Hall’s future will continue until a definitive answer is reached by the state of Florida. Their decision to withhold or continue with their execution will be unlikely to affect the outcomes of other borderline inmates in the near future, as this is something that is being addressed on a case-by-case basis at this point.
Featured image is a mugshot from Florida Department of Corrections.
Florida May Execute 68 Year Old Man With IQ Of 70.