Which Court Sets Specific Rules As to Who Should Be Classified As Mentally Retarted ?
In Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304, 122 S. Ct. 2242, 153 L. Ed. 2d 335 (2002), the Supreme Court recognized that various sources and research differ on who should be classified as mentally retarded.
Accordingly, the Court left to the states the task of setting specific rules in their statutes. See Atkins, 536 U.S. at 317 ("As was our approach in Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399, 106 S. Ct. 2595, 91 L. Ed. 2d 335 (1986) with regard to insanity, 'we leave to the States the task of developing appropriate ways to enforce the constitutional restriction upon their execution of sentences.' ").
This State in section 921.137(1) defines subaverage general intellectual functioning as "performance that is two or more standard deviations from the mean score on a standardized intelligence test specified in the rules of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities."
The court have consistently interpreted this definition to require a defendant seeking exemption from execution to establish he has an IQ of 70 or below.
Jones v. State, 966 So. 2d 319, 329 (Fla. 2007) ("Under the plain language of the statute, 'significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning' correlates with an IQ of 70 or below.");
Zack v. State, 911 So. 2d 1190, 1201 (Fla. 2005) (finding that to be exempt from execution under Atkins, a defendant must establish that he has an IQ of 70 or below).
In Cherry v. State, 781 So. 2d 1040, 1047 (Fla. 2000), the court noted that another jurisdiction considering a similar claim found that "fourteen of the twenty-six jurisdictions with mental retardation statutes have a cutoff of seventy or two standard deviations below the mean." 959 So. 2d at 713 n. 8 (citing Bowling v. Commonwealth, 163 S.W. 3d 361, 373-74 (Ky.) (upholding use of seventy IQ score cutoff), cert. denied, 546 U.S. 1017, 126 S. Ct. 652, 163 L. Ed. 2d 528 (2005)).