Two condemned prisoners seek delay for Supreme Court ruling on mental issues | Arkansas Blog

Two condemned prisoners seek delay for Supreme Court ruling on mental issues

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SEEK STAY: Bruce Ward (left) and Don Davis.
  • SEEK STAY: Bruce Ward (left) and Don Davis.
Death Row inmates Bruce Ward and Don Davis have asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to stop their executions until the U.S. Supreme Court can decide a case over adequate consideration of mental state of people sentenced to death.

The U.S. Supreme Court is to hear an Alabama case April 24. The question is whether an indigent defendant had adequate access to experts to develop a defense based on mental health. An evaluation of a defendant's competency by an expert shared by prosecution and defense is inadequate, the defense argues.

Ward and Davis are scheduled to be killed by Arkansas on Monday. Their lawyers argue they were denied access to a competent psychiatrist to present a defense.

Ward, they say, has a life-long history of severe mental illness, including paranoid schizophrenia. Davis has an IQ low enough to approach disability, plus ADHD and psychoactive substance abuse disorders, according to a news release on their court filing.

To execute David and Ward before a decision in the Alabama case "would deeply offend ‘the integrity of the judicial process," their motion says.

The Arkansas Supreme Court, to date, has been making quick work of denial of condemned prisoners' petitions.

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