There’s no doubt, apparently, about the diagnosis:
All medical specialists who have examined Hill now agree that he is “mentally retarded” – the designation of intellectual disability still widely used in the US – and should be protected under the supreme court ban. In an important break in the case, three forensic psychiatrists who had previously testified that Hill did not meet the legal criteria for “mental retardation”, and was thus eligible for execution, have in recent days announced that they now believe their opinion was wrong.
All three doctors say that their original evaluation – given 12 years ago at a crucial stage in the case – was rushed and ill-conceived.
Georgia [was] the first state to enact a law protecting the mentally ill from the death penalty
Georgia has the highest bar of all states of proof for “mental retardation….” State law requires that individuals prove they have intellectual disability “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a powerful legal concept that does not translate into the way individuals are assessed to determine if they have a intellectual disability. So, while Georgia never contested Mr. Hill’s intellectual disability or I.Q. of 70, he was not able to meet the burden of proof.