LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A Kentucky death row inmate lost a bid to
challenge his death sentence based on mental age after the U.S.
Supreme Court declined on Monday to hear the case.
Thomas Clyde Bowling, 54, had asked the high court to consider if the ban on executing juveniles extended to people whose mental age was less than 18 years old. The court, without comment, declined to hear the case.
The decision came on an appeal of a Kentucky Supreme Court
Bowling, who has been tested several times and has an IQ in the
low 70s, sought to extend the three-year-old ban on executing
juveniles to adults with low mental age. Kentucky's high court rejected the case in 2006, saying he cannot make the claim since it was not brought up at his trial.
Allison Martin, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Attorney General's Office, declined to comment on an ongoing case.
Assistant Public Advocate David Barron, who represents Bowling,
also declined to comment.
The case wasn't Bowling's last chance to get heard on the issue.
A federal judge in Lexington is considering a similar challenge by Bowling on how the state enforces the ban on executing the mentally retarded.
Bowling is asking U.S. District Judge Karen Coffman to decide if
Kentucky's procedures for deciding who is mentally retarded violate due process and raised the issue of whether a mental retardation
claim can ever be raised too late for consideration.
That case stems from a ruling in 2007 by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court found that Bowling could not have raised the issue that he was mentally retarded or that his mental age was too low before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that executing the mentally retarded was unconstitutional.
Bowling was condemned to death for the 1990 slayings of
Lexington residents Eddie and Tina Earley outside their dry cleaning business. He is also one of two plaintiffs challenging lethal injection in a case currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Bowling was scheduled for execution in November 2004, but a
judge stopped it after Bowling and another inmate sued over the
constitutionality of lethal injection. Bowling is also awaiting the results of DNA testing on evidence in his case.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)