Today, the state of Texas
executed Oliver David Cruz, a man who had been diagnosed as mentally retarded
with an IQ
of 63. Lest anyone argue that he might have deliberately faked the test results, Cruz took special education
classes when he was in school, and had to repeat the seventh grade
three times. He is functionally illiterate
The American Bar Association urged Governor George W. Bush to block Cruz's execution, but under state law, Bush could not do so without the approval of the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole. The Board had already voted 18-0 against granting clemency to Cruz. However, Bush did have the authority to grant a one-time 30-day reprieve. Because Bush is busy campaigning for the Presidency at the moment, however, the decision was left to his Lt. Governor, who declined the opportunity.
Since the Supreme Court lifted a national ban on death penalties in 1982, 227 executions have been carried out by the Texas legal system. 140 of those have been performed while Bush was Governor. Bush has granted only one 30-day reprieve and one commutal to life imprisonment. While it may be true that most Americans support the death penalty, it can hardly be denied that Texas is rather more triggerhappy than it ought to be. Recently, the state of Illinois put a moratorium on all executions because, according to Governor George Ryan (who is a member of the same Republican party as George W. Bush), too many people are being executed unjustly by a fallible justice system.
Texas is one of twenty-five states that allows the execution of convicted killers who are diagnosed as being mentally retarded. In addition, he maintains that he was intoxicated on liquor and LSD before committing the rape and stabbing that led to his conviction. Together, these facts lead one to conclude that he could hardly have been in a normal frame of mind when his crimes were committed.