USA - Texas. Bills tackling intellectual disability and mental illness cases fail

28 May 2019 :

Despite bipartisan support, bill tackling intellectual disability in death penalty cases fails----Negotiators in the House and Senate couldn't come to an agreement on a bill addressing how Texas handles capital murder defendants who may be intellectually disabled. The House had adopted a bill (HB 1139) that defined intellectual disability in accordance with contemporary diagnostic criteria and had provided for a pretrial judicial determination of whether a defendant was ineligible for the death penalty because of intellectual disability. The bill passed in committee on March 25. HB 1139 passed out of the Texas House in an 102-37 vote on April 30, and was supported by members of both parties. On May 22, the Texas Senate adopted a substitute version (SB 418) that eliminated the pretrial judicial determination. The House refused to concur in the Senate amendments, and a conference committee failed in attempts to resolve the differences between the two versions of the bill. The legislative session (86th Regular Session) ends Monday, May 27. Another bill addressing mental illness (HB 1936) won approval in the House (see May 9), but wasn't taken up by the Senate.


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