Supreme Court tosses death sentence for Texas man

The Supreme Court on Tuesday tossed out a death sentence for a Texas man who argued he could not be put to death because he is intellectually disabled. 

The justices ruled 6-3, which included Chief Justice John Roberts, for Bobby James Moore.

The case centers on Moore's conviction of capital murder for fatally shooting a store clerk during a 1980 robbery.


Moore's lawyers have argued his death sentence violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment because he is intellectually disabled. But the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has twice ruled that Moore does not have an intellectual disability and is eligible for the death penalty. 

Two years ago, the Supreme Court vacated the appeals court's first ruling and told the court to reassess Moore's intellectual disability under more contemporary standards. 

The high court tossed out the lower court's second opinion on Tuesday.

"We conclude that the appeals court’s opinion, when taken as a whole and when read in the light both of our prior opinion and the trial court record, rests upon analysis too much of which too closely resembles what we previously found improper," the majority said in an unsigned opinion.

"And extricating that analysis from the opinion leaves too little that might warrant reaching a different conclusion than did the trial court. We consequently agree with Moore and the prosecutor that, on the basis of the trial court record, Moore has shown he is a person with intellectual disability." 

Notable dissents came from Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch.