You are working at Johnson and Cohen law firm and have recently been assigned to lead the appeal of a man convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death.
The defendant has never had an IQ test, but friends and family insist that he has always been a little “slow“ his entire life. He was also diagnosed with autism earlier in his life and many of his former acquaintances thought he had psychiatric problems when they knew him.
These factors were never brought up at trial by the defendant’s previous defense team because they wanted to focus on mitigating circumstances surrounding the crime that was committed rather than confusing the issue with too many different defenses.
- How would your team argue during the appeal that the defendant’s constitutional rights were violated?
- What evidence would be required for your defendant to be considered mentally retarded under Atkins v. Virginia and Penry v. Lynaugh (1989)? Assess whether or not that evidence can be presented in this case.
- What evidence would be required for your defendant to be considered insane under Ford v. Wainwright (1986)? Assess whether or not that evidence can be presented in this case.
- Do you believe that bringing up the defendant’s diagnosis of autism could have aided in the defense in the sentencing phase? Would the contention that he was mentally slow have helped? Provide rationale for your answers.
- Identify other aspects of the case not mentioned in the scenario that could benefit the defendant. For instance, consider whether the Supreme Court has found it unconstitutional to apply the death penalty in other circumstances.
- If you succeed in your appeal, what would be the next steps to occur?
Support your analysis and suggestions with proper reasoning, examples, and research data. Use structured text like bolding, headings, bulleted lists, and charts/tables where appropriate to increase the clarity of your communication. Cite the resources you use in APA style.