DAA News Network

USA: Sanctions against doctor who certified prisoners with learning difficulties fit to be executed

Posted 25/4-11 at 14.57

Dr. George Denkowski, a psychologist who examined 14 inmates who are now on Texas' Death Row, and two others who were subsequently executed, and found them intellectually competent enough to face the death penalty, agreed on Thursday never to perform such evaluations again.

This was part of a settlement issued by Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists against Dr. Denkowski whose testing methods have been sharply criticized by other psychologists and defence lawyers as unscientific.

Although Dr. Denkowski, nicknamed ‘Dr. Death' by defence lawyers, admitted no wrongdoing and defends his practice, those critical of his methods said the settlement could give those inmates still on death row an important opportunity to appeal against their sentences.

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that states cannot execute people with learning difficulties. But the court did not provide guidelines, leaving it up to the states. Texas essentially developed criteria which made it easier to find that a prisoner did not have learning difficulties. Dr. Denkowski's discredited evaluations greatly facilitated this process.







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