Thurman

RaShawn Thurman ENG 1102 Atkins V. Virginia Before I started conducting my research, I was extremely biased when it came to the Atkins V. Virginia case. When I first heard about the case, I had no idea how to feel. A piece of me did not want Atkins to get off free of charge. If he had something to do with a murder and a kidnapping, that person should be punished. The death penalty may not have been my immediate answer, but it all depended on the severity of the case. I did not think it was feasible for someone with a mental disorder to just get off scotch free just because he has a mental disorder. Soon after I began my research on the case, I started to feel differently about it. Death Penalty Cases cleared my biased opinions on the case, maybe for the best. In Death Penalty Cases, it states the “execution of mentally retarded criminals are cruel and unusual punishments in violation of the Eight Amendment” (p.255). I assumed that this meant that no matter what the mentally disabled person committed, he would get off because of the fact that he had mental disability. According to Death Penalty Cases, the mentally retarded who meet the law’s requirements for a criminal act should be tried and punished. But however if they do not act with the same moral characteristics, it jeopardizes their case (p. 255). In comparison Dead Wrong, the lawyer feels almost the same way. He believed that if one was legally documented as someone with a mental disorder and commits a crime, they should have different type of trial then someone who has nothing documented. I agree in this sense because if someone has a mental disorder, they are not able to control their actions to a certain extent; but in this particular case, Atkins did not deserve the death penalty or the amount of prison time he was awarded.

Thurman

I agree with both of these authors. In 2002, the death penalty should not have even been brought up in this case for Atkins. Although Atkins was at the scene of the crime, legally, he is mentally retarded. He couldn’t have possibly had anything to do with the murder and the kidnapping of that young lady. A part of me wants to believe that although he is mentally disabled, he should be put in a psych ward for his actions. Prison or the death penalty, in my opinion, is outright in humane for someone who does not have the mental capacity to commit the crime they are being accused of. On the contrary, what if this person’s mental disorder is something as small as ADD? Although ADD is considered a disorder, it is not as strong as others such as schizophrenia or any other hallucinogens. Personally, if an individual has been diagnosed and is on medicine, it is that person’s fault or the care taker if they commit an act of crime. They are prescribed medicine for a reason, therefore one should be held accountable if they commit an act of crime that is punishable.

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