Rights & Liberties

Mentally disabled inmates remain on death row

The Supreme Court's Atkins decision struck down executions of the mentally retarded. But dozens of mentally disabled men remain on death row in Texas, with few avenues for appeal.
Six of the twenty-nine men on Texas death row evaluated by Dr. George Denkowski | Credit: TEXAS OBSERVER

Despite a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Atkins v. Virginia, that banned execution of persons diagnosed with mental retardation, Texas continues to hold men with severe mental disabilities on death row. Reneé Feltz, a reporter for Free Speech Radio News, looks at Texas psychologist Dr. George Denkowski, who has served as an expert witness for the prosecution in dozens of capital cases. His evaluations have determined these defendants' eligibility for execution based on estimates of their IQ scores.

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Read Feltz's related Texas Observer story, which includes an interactive graphic of the twenty-nine Atkins cases Dr. Denkowski worked on in Texas.

Support for the story was provided by the Nation Institute's Investigative Fund, now known as Type Investigations.

About the reporter

Renée Feltz

Renée Feltz

Renée Feltz is an award-winning investigative journalist who has covered immigration and criminal justice for 15 years.


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