A federal appeals court halted the execution of an inmate in Texas on Tuesday night after an attorney produced two previously undisclosed IQ tests that show the inmate is intellectually disabled.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans issued a stay for Robert Campbell after tests showed he is severely mentally handicapped, with IQ scores of 68 in 1991 and 71 in 1992.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that intellectually disabled inmates, usually defined as having an IQ of 70 or below, cannot be executed.
"It is regrettable that we are now reviewing evidence of intellectual disability at the eleventh hour before Campbell's scheduled execution," wrote Fifth Circuit Judge James Dennis. "However, from the record before us, it appears that we cannot fault Campbell or his attorneys, present or past, for the delay."
Campbell, 41, was convicted of abducting, raping and killing a 22-year-old Houston woman in 1991.
In 2003 the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied his appeal arguing that Campbell scored an 84 on an IQ test he allegedly took in 1990. The Texas Department of Justice was unable to supply the Fifth Circuit with that 1990 test and failed to prove “whether such a test had been administered at all.”
Campbell’s stay came just hours after the same court denied a separate appeal from Campbell that would have forced the Texas DOJ to name the pharmacy where it purchased the mystery lethal injection drugs they would use on him.