Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Edward Bell scheduled to be executed in Virginia

Death Penalty Info Center has an eye-opening post today on the scheduled execution of Edward Bell in Virginia. Bell is a Jamaican immigrant convicted of killing a police officer, but there are two bothersome facts about his case.

For one, Bell is legally retarded in Virginia, with an IQ of 68 and "serious deficiencies in adaptive functioning." However, he has never received a hearing to prove his retardation.

Second, "Judge James Jones of the Eastern District of Virginia held that the representation Bell received violated constitutional standards." His defense attorney failed him by presenting zero mitigating evidence at trial, making no attempts to "shed light on his character, motives, or background."

I pointed out yesterday that Virginia is taking steps in the opposite direction of most states by looking to increase the use of its expensive and unfairly applied death penalty. Today we learn that a mentally retarded immigrant whose Constitutional rights were violated could be the Commonwealth's next victim.


Anonymous said...

Edward Bell shot a cop. That's it. He deserves to die, and I could care less about what his IQ is. He was attempting to flee from Sergeant Timbrook, and he could have continued running down that alley. Instead, he turned around and shot the sergeant in the head. Bell would be found hiding shortly after, and it wasn't the first time that he had been arrested. Get off your soapbox, and step into reality. Bell is a piece of garbage, and justice will be served with his execution.

Anonymous said...

Whether you care about what his IQ is or not, it has (or should have)profound bearing on his culpability. Only 2.2%-5% of the population have IQ scores lower than 70. Someone with an IQ of 65 is generally considered to be mentally retarded.

You present his choice as simple -- continue running down the alley or turning around to shoot. It might well be simple to you or I, but not to a mentally retarded individual who might not even "see" the choice available. I'm well grounded in reality and don't consider human beings pieces of garbage.

Courtney said...

Whether a retarded man could make that decision or not, if the whole reason behind your support of the death penalty is punishment, should the offender not at least be able to understand he's being punished and what for? If he can't understand, is it not just killing for the sake of killing, making the state no better - actually worse because they comprehend what they are doing -than Bell himself?

Anonymous said...

Bell was a gambler, drug dealer, and thug. He handicaped horse betting at charles town race track. NO ONE ever considered him retarted or even slow. His attorneys had nothing to work with because this killer left a trail of destruction everywhere he went.he beat at least one of the mothers of his childern.
He had gun convictions
And other violent crimes in his past.
A selfish bastard who shot a young man in the forehead so he could go on with his thug life.
It happened on my street. Don,t believe the bs.

Anonymous said...

I won't believe the bs coming from someone who's so visibly devoid of human compassion. All people are entitled to the protections that the Constitution affords them. No one is beneath the law's protections. Bell's Constitutional rights were violated. Period.

Darnell said...

Actually I did not know what the problem had he made so he would be executed in Virginia. But after reading this short info I little know it. My question is why the IQ could not prove his retardation?

Tom said...

I think it is not fair to execute him because of his problem in IQ. I think it is better to do more investigation or bring him to the rehabilitation. Fine if I am not the law and regulation but it is also important to see it from humanity side.