Supreme Interpreters

Very Detailed Interpretations

In 2002, the Supreme Court held that it is cruel and unusual to execute someone who has an intellectual disability (this used to be called mental retardation). However, the Court left it up to each state to decide how to determine if someone has an intellectual disability.

Consider this case the Court heard in 2014:

Florida prisoner Freddie Lee Hall was sentenced to death for a very serious crime. At his trial, he argued that he had an intellectual disability. But Florida’s Supreme Court had said that anyone who scores above 70 on an IQ test does not have an intellectual disability. Hall had taken the test three times. He scored 71 one time, 80 one time, and once in between.

Follow the link to read about this case and the IQ test.

Response Question: 
  • How many points is the “margin of error” built into the IQ test? (Margin of error is a measure of uncertainty about how accurate the score is.)
  • Your Interpretation: Is it cruel and unusual to execute someone after using such a strict method to decide whether they have an intellectual disability?
Response not required