Death penalty; persons with mental disability and mental impairments ineligible. (HB1133)

Introduced By

Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Death penalty; persons with mental disability and mental impairments ineligible. Provides that persons who are mentally disabled or mentally impaired are, like persons who are mentally retarded, ineligible for the death penalty. "Mentally disabled" is defined as a disability, originating at any age, characterized concurrently by (i) significantly subaverage intellectual functioning as demonstrated by performance on a standardized measure of intellectual functioning administered in conformity with accepted professional practice that is at least two standard deviations below the mean and (ii) significant limitations in adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills. This definition is identical to the current definition of mentally retarded with the exception that the disability need not have originated before the person was 18 years old. "Mentally impaired" is defined as a substantial disorder of a person's cognitive, volitional, or emotional processes characterized concurrently by a demonstrable and significant impairment in the capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. The bill also provides that determinations of whether a person is not eligible for the death penalty due to mental disability, mental impairment, or mental retardation shall be determined by the judge before the commencement of trial. The defendant must give the attorney for the Commonwealth notice at least 60 days before trial of his intention to present evidence of mental disability, mental impairment, or mental retardation. Currently, the determination of whether a defendant is mentally retarded is made by either the jury or the judge at the same time guilt is determined and the notice to the attorney for the Commonwealth must be given at least 21 days before trial. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/13/2014Presented and ordered printed 14103371D
01/13/2014Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/14/2014Impact statement from VCSC (HB1133)
02/12/2014Left in Courts of Justice