Have Courts Recognized Mental Illness a Bar to Execution ?
In Nixon v. State, 2 So. 3d 137 (Fla. 2009), the Court held:
Lastly, Nixon asserts that the trial court erroneously denied him a hearing on his claim that mental illness bars his execution.
We rejected this argument in Lawrence v. State, 969 So. 2d 294 (Fla. 2007), and Connor v. State, 979 So. 2d 852 (Fla. 2007).
In Lawrence, the court rejected the defendant's argument that the Equal Protection Clause requires this Court to extend Atkins to the mentally ill. See 969 So. 2d at 300 n.9.
In Connor, the court noted that "to the extent that Connor is arguing that he cannot be executed because of mental conditions that are not insanity or mental retardation, the issue has been resolved adversely to his position." Connor, 979 So. 2d at 867 (citing Diaz v. State, 945 So. 2d 1136, 1151 (Fla.) cert. denied,549 U.S. 1103, 127 S. Ct. 850, 166 L.Ed.2d 679 (2006) (indicating that neither the United States Supreme Court nor this Court has recognized mental illness as a per se bar to execution)). Accordingly, Nixon is not entitled to relief on this claim. Id. at 146.
In Lawrence v. State, 969 So. 2d 294 (Fla. 2007), the court also rejected the claim that defendants with mental illness must be treated similarly to those with mental retardation because both conditions result in reduced culpability. Id. at 300 n. 9.