Victory Today for Our Client with Intellectual Disability!

Dear Friends:

We have exciting news to share with you! Today, the Court of Criminal Appeals granted relief for TDS client Juan Segundo, and modified his capital sentence to life imprisonment because he is intellectually disabled.

At TDS, we protect the most vulnerable in our society—those with extreme mental illness, intellectual disability, and cognitive impairments—from execution. So many people with intellectual disability and extreme mental illness end up on Texas’s death row. The very disabilities that should exempt them from society’s most extreme punishment also make them easy targets for excessive prosecution: they are more likely to falsely confess to a crime when interrogated by police, and more likely to be unable to meaningfully defend themselves in court.

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to execute people with intellectual disability. But despite this constitutional prohibition, Juan—an intellectually disabled man—had been on Texas’s death row for over 15 years.

Juan has a low IQ and the academic abilities of a very young child. As an adult, he could not read a map, follow directions, or distinguish his left from his right. His wife had to dress him and encourage him to shave and get regular haircuts. He changed jobs 52 times from 1979 to 2002 because his intellectual deficits were so severe that he could not perform even basic manual labor. Once he treated a yard for termites and his customer had to tell him what termites were, why they were a problem, and how to pour the chemical treatment into the termite mounds.
Viewing the evidence presented by TDS, three separate medical professionals concluded that Juan was intellectually disabled, and today Texas’s Court of Criminal Appeals agreed.

Thank you to the incredible TDS team who won this victory. And thank you to you—our supporters. Your financial support makes it possible for us to continue the fight for humanity and justice.

With Gratitude,

Burke Butler
Executive Director
Texas Defender Service

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