Could New Health Issues Reverse a Death Sentence?

Playing Death Row Pardon for Dementia?

The Doctors discuss if new health issues should affect a person's court sentence.

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They weigh in on a case of a man convicted of murder whose lawyer is asking the court to treat him as someone who lacks the mental capacity to understand his crime and punishment due to him having strokes and dementia, which have reportedly affected his memory.

Attorney Areva Martin says she is not aware of a case where a death penalty has been commuted to a life in prison sentence due to a loss of cognitive abilities. She notes that in other cases, people's lives have been spared to due low IQs and developmental disabilities and she says cases like these will be used to draw a comparison to the man with dementia case.

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The case discussed has worked its way all the way to the Supreme Court and the outcome could have an effect on similar cases by setting a precedent.