Urgent Action Alert! Ask Your State Legislators to Support Changing the Standard of Proof and Procedure for Determining Intellectual Disability in Death Penalty Cases!

GCDD Email Call to Action 1702

Georgia is the only state in the country that forces people to prove intellectual disability (ID), beyond a reasonable doubt to avoid execution. It is also the only state that asks the jury to simultaneously decide guilt and ID. Not one person facing the death penalty has ever met the standard, which means that Georgians with ID are at risk for execution.

Georgia allows the execution of people with intellectual disability because the burden of proof is too high and the determination process is too prejudicial. Lowering the standard of proof is the only way to ensure that Georgia is in line with the Atkins decision. In addition, the determination of ID should happen separately from the decision of the defendant’s guilt.

Intellectual disability (ID) is a cognitive disability that lasts for a person’s lifetime. The onset of the disability occurs prior to the age of 18 and is characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior.

HB 768 has been introduced in the Georgia House with bipartisan support by Representative Scott Hilton. This bill supports changing the standard of proof and procedure for determining intellectual disability in death penalty cases! It is co-sponsored by Representative David Dreyer, Representative Brett Harrell, Representative Scot Turner and Representative Scott Holcomb. You can read the legislation here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20172018/HB/768

How you can help: Please take a moment to write or call your State Representative and ask them to support HB 768 and request that a hearing be held on the bill prior to crossover day on February 26th. You can look them up using your mailing address here: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

We also strongly encourage you to contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to request that a hearing be held on HB 768 prior to crossover day!

Learn More: For more information on this issue, you can view and download materials here: https://tinyurl.com/HB768Materials (This link is no longer active.)

Included are:

  • A fact sheet on HB 768
  • A flow chart explaining the proposed procedural
  • An explanation of the standards of proof
  • HB 768 Talking Points

For more information or if you would like to make a Capitol visit, please contact:

Caitlin Childs, Policy Consultant
Proof to A Preponderance of the Evidence Coalition (PAPE) and Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP)