Monday, October 21, 2013

Photo Of The Day

man and woman surfing, both have one arm amputated
From the Disability Curious Tumblr blog.

Disability News

icon picture of a newspaper
Supreme Court to review execution of mentally disabled inmates
Mark Sherman, Associated Press - October 21, 2013

Florida uses a strict IQ measurement to determine whether a person is "mentally disabled" for the purposes of prohibiting or allowing the death penalty. The court will look at whether such as simple and definitive cutoff, which doesn't take into account any other factors, is Constitutional.

Kate Brumback, Time Magazine - October 20, 2013

Georgia uses the standard of "beyond reasonable doubt". It sounds like they do consider more than just an IQ score, but that their overall bar for proving "mental disability" is very high. I guess it means that they wouldn't execute someone if a jury said, "He's definitely mentally disabled", but they would if they said, "He's probably mentally disabled."

Death penalty cases involving disabled people are confusing to me. I oppose the death penalty, and I hate to see disabled people punished when they might not really process what it's all about. On the other hand, I worry about messing with or perhaps expanding legal mechanisms for "proving" people are incompetent, in whatever context. Are there any lawyers out there who know whether widening the group considered "mentally disabled" in terms of the death penalty might also expand the group cognitively impaired people people not allowed to make their own life choices? If the Supreme Court decides that while the dividing line is a 70 IQ, 72 is "close enough", will more adults end up under guardianship of their parents or of agencies?

CBS / AP - October 18, 2013

It sounds like the lawsuit may be based a lot on technicalities and specific medical evidence, not so much on the broader issues. That's probably okay. In terms of deterrence, the main thing is that Regal Cinemas and the mall company might re-evaluate their policies on how to handle unruly customers ... including maybe training staff and security on how to recognize and deal with people who have cognitive impairments.

Another way this could go is that movie theater companies might start requiring disabled people to have supervision, or order their staffs to not interact with them at all. If someone with Down Syndrome decides to go to a movie unaccompanied, after this incident and after a winning lawsuit, will managers just say, "Shit, I don't want them in there alone. Who knows what they'll do?!" Never underestimate a municipality or a conglomerate's ability to learn the wrong lessons from a tragedy.


I set my Google News page to find disability-related stories using keywords, "disabled" and "disability", and I pick a few that interest me.