Publication Date



In 1988, Georgia became the first state in the nation to prohibit the execution of intellectually disabled criminal defendants. At the time, this groundbreaking action played a critical role in shaping the national debate surrounding the criminal justice system’s treatment of this group of individuals, culminating in the United States Supreme Court’s own prohibition in 2002. A drafting error in Georgia’s statute, however, created a highly prejudicial process for determining intellectual disability, all but ensuring that the law’s protections are unattainable for those who seek it. Despite this error, Georgia’s process has remained the same since the statute’s enactment with little consideration of reform. This Note sheds light on Georgia’s highly prejudicial law and argues for a change that balances the concerns of those favoring the status quo with the rights of intellectually disabled defendants in capital offense cases.