This report was posted by William Van Ornum on Tuesday but unfortunately disappeared from the site:
Employees in the prison system in Virginia are preparing the chemicals and setting up the execution chamber for a scheduled execution on[today] Thursday, September 23, 2010. Teresa Lewis was convicted of murdering her husband and stepson, as reported in the New York Daily News on Monday, September 10, 2010. Her attorney, James Rocap, has appealed to the United States Supreme Court citing evidence that documents that Ms. Lewis has a severely diminished intellectual capability and was set up to take the blame by the two individuals who carried out the crime.
It is unclear from the published reports if the State of Virginia is utilizing commonly accepted practices of diagnosing mental retardation. Professionals in the field rely on a series of individual intelligence tests given over a period of time as well as adaptive behavior measures and utilize a “standard error of measurement” which views scores as a range, rather than a cutting score. Virginia’s regulations use a cutting score of 70 on an IQ test as the determiner of retardation, rather than commonly used practice of utilizing more information. Ms. Lewis’s IQ is 72.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has acquired a national reputation for egregious abuses of mentally retarded individuals in the past. Governor Mark Warner on May 3, 2002 stated, “Today I offer the Commonwealth’s sincere apology for Virginia’s participation in Eugenics.” The state unveiled a historical marker to commemorate Charlottesville native Carrie Buck (1906-1983), who was the first person sterilized under this law. Later evidence showed that Buck herself as well as many other persons sterilized had no “hereditary defects.” Warner concluded, “We must remember the Commonwealth’s past mistakes in order to prevent them from occurring.”
James Rocap, Teresa Lewis’s lawyer (himself a graduate of Notre Dame University and Georgetown Law School), asked Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell to reconsider his September 17 refusal to intervene with clemency, the Daily News reported. Rocap, in a petition obtained by the Washington Post, wrote: “Respectfully, the decision you announced on December 17, 2010 does not address any of the compelling reasons for clemency that have been advanced, including the significant new evidence that none of the courts have previously considered.”
William Van Ornum