The case involves two issues.
The first issue is whether the Constitution requires the states to offer defendants the possibility of an insanity defense, and if so, what constitutional limits there are on the shaping of the defense.
The second issue is whether the states are free to adopt a rule, like Arizona's, preventing criminal defendants from even offering mental health or intellectual disability evidence to rebut the prosecution's claim that the defendant had the state of mind required by the statute (in this case, knowledge that he was killing a police officer).
The report, "Beyond Reason: The Death Penalty and Offenders with Mental Retardation" is available on the Human Rights at http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/ustat/. The fifty-page report is a comprehensive, rights-based assessment of the injustice and cruelty of imposing death sentences on offenders with intellectual disabilities.
The Arizona Supreme Court concluded (as we wrote in the amicus brief) that the trial judge erred as a matter of law when it excluded evidence of post-18 adaptive behavior because such evidence is relevant to an MR diagnosis.
to ensure that the Court is fully apprised of the extensive evidence of the States’ patterns of unconstitutional treatment of people with disabilities supporting Congress’ abrogation of Eleventh Amendment immunity for violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).1
Case challenging the constitutionality of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). At issue is whether Congress has the constitutional authority to require states to pay money damages for violations of Title II of the ADA in their prisons.