A young death-row inmate hopes a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on mental retardation helps his cause. But, the Attorney General doesn’t believe his case has anything to do with that ruling. Prisoner Christopher Simmons was to be executed this Spring for the death of Shirley Crook in Jefferson County in 1993, a murder he committed at the age of 17. His lawyers argue the Supreme Court ruling against the execution of the mentally retarded should apply and the State Supreme Court postponed his execution for arguments to be made in light of the Atkins ruling. Attorney General Jay Nixon isn’t impressed with arguments that the brain of a 17-year-old isn’t fully developed, an argument crucial in the Atkins case. Nixon says there is no evidence that Simmons is retarded. And, in fact, Nixon counters that Simmons has an I.Q. well above the 70 threshold established by the U.S. Supreme Court. Nixon says state law is clear as it applies to Simmons. Nixon adds there is no credible claims of mental retardation that have been raised by any current Missouri death row inmates.
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