Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 2:40 pm
The standard by which a person is judged to be mentally competent enough to face execution for a crime will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed Monday to hear a Florida case revolving around that issue.
The capital punishment case, Hall, Freddie L. v. Fla., centers on the standard for judging mental disability and how state officials arrive at that judgment. The case will be argued in Washington early in 2014.
State lawmakers will not decide whether to abolish the death penalty this year. Rejecting cost, fairness and morality arguments, a House criminal justice subcommittee on Thursday voted down a bill to abolish capital punishment in Florida.
The vote was largely along party lines, with the majority Republicans voting in favor of preserving the death penalty.
John Errol Ferguson is scheduled for execution on Thursday for a six-victim murder that horrified South Florida more than 35 years ago. At the time, as the Miami Herald's David Ovalle reminds us in this backgrounder, it was the worst mass murder in local history. Is he fit to execute?