Back in January 2010, we first took note of something sinister happening over in Texas — media spotlights were revealing that over a dozen Texas Death Row inmates had had their IQ scores suspiciously bumped up to a sufficiently high number that they were eligible for the death penalty and execution. (Read that post for details here.)
This month, the story continues as the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists has officially sanctioned, or punished, psychologist George Denkowski. Seems George Denkowski, Ph.D. saw fit to examine 16 individuals and using his special techniques, find each of them competent to stand trial and face the death penalty.
Deal That Was Made: Is It a Hand Slap?
The sanction was a settlement between the Texas Board and Dr. Denkowski (who has often been labeled "Dr. Death" in the media). The Board heard evidence that Dr. Denkowski’s testing methods were not scientifically based. Both his peers (psychologists) as well as death-qualified defense lawyers argued that he was simply unscientific.
In the end, Dr. Death made a deal with the Texas Board: he will not conduct intellectual disability evaluations in future criminal cases. He will pay $5,500 as a fine. He did not admit that he did anything wrong. In return, the Board agreed to dismiss all the charges against him.
Fourteen of these men evaluated by Dr. Denkowski sit on Death Row today. Two of these men have been executed.
These are the 14 individuals whose fate remains in the hands of the Texas appellate system after Dr. Death’s bad acts have been revealed:
- Anthony Pierce
- Virgilio Maldonado
- Calvin Hunter
- Roosevelt Smith Jr.
- John Matamoros
- Derrick Charles
- Kim Ly Lim
- Coy Wesbrook
- Joel Escobedo
- Jamie McCoskey
- Warren Rivers
- Tomas Gallo
- Steven Butler
- Alfred Brown
Hopefully, the settlement reached here will help the post-conviction efforts of the defense attorneys representing these 14 individuals as they argue that they are indeed protected from the death penalty under federal constitutional mandates that protect against execution of the "mentally retarded," see Atkins v. Virginia and its progeny.