COMMENT: Expanding Atkins and Roper: A Diagnostic Approach to Excluding the Death Penalty As Punishment for Schizophrenic Offenders Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2009 Mississippi Law Journal, Inc.
Mississippi Law Journal

COMMENT: Expanding Atkins and Roper: A Diagnostic Approach to Excluding the Death Penalty As Punishment for Schizophrenic Offenders

Summer, 2009

Mississippi Law Journal

78 Miss. L.J. 905


Bethany C. Bryant



This comment is written at a time when citizens of the United States, as well as the Supreme Court, are questioning the benefits of capital punishment and the underlying foundation of death penalty jurisprudence. This reevaluation of capital punishment comes to the forefront as a result of many injustices that have been made public in recent years. 1 In recent years, many issues have been and continue to be discussed, such as concerns about the innocence of those sentenced to death, who should be subject to the death penalty, and what process is due to defendants prior to the death sentence being imposed upon them. 2 This comment will address the second of these issues; specifically, it will address whether or not individuals suffering from schizophrenia should be subject to capital punishment.

Today, scientific advances are having a significant impact on the outcome of criminal cases, 3 and as a result of technological advances, researchers are making great strides in understanding the human mind and the impact mental illness has upon the human brain. 4 In the past six years, the Supreme Court has held that individuals suffering from mental retardation and juveniles under the age of eighteen are categorically excluded from the death penalty. 5 These recent decisions, along with advances in technology, have subjected the issue of whether capital punishment is appropriate for those suffering from severe mental illness, which includes schizophrenia, to much scholarly debate. 6 The purpose of ...
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