U.S. 5th Circuit Halts Texas Execution Based On New Information

May 14, 2014

A Texan man on death row who was scheduled to be the nation’s first execution since the botched lethal injection in Oklahoma has been granted a stay. The US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals halted Robert James Campbell’s execution based on an IQ score taken in 1982.

Campbell came within hours of being executed, but the U5th Circuit believed there was sufficient evidence to prove Campbell would’ve been labeled intellectually disabled  if certain pieces of evidence hadn’t been withheld during his original trial.

Northwestern University Law Professor Rob Owen is Campbell’s attorney and discovered the materials that ultimately led to the stay of execution.

"And I was reviewing all the information in the case and I discovered that the district attorney’s office had collected Mr. Campbell’s school records prior to Mr. Campbell’s trial," Owen said. "And what we found in those school records was an IQ test with a score of 68 taken when Mr. Campbell was nine years old.”

Owen said this is very strong evidence that he has intellectual disability, making him ineligible for capital punishment. 

“The concern that everyone should have is we have a man with intellecual disabilities that came within a couple hours of being executed and that means the entire system is always vulnerable,” Owen said.