Friday, May 16, 2014

TDCJ issued "misinformation," prosecutors failed to disclose evidence re: capital defendant's mental retardation

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held on May 13 that TDCJ withheld mitigation evidence that supported capital defendant Robert James Campbell's claims of mental retardation (an "Atkins" claim, in legal parlance), ordering a stay of his execution. The federal court ordered an adversarial hearing to determine whether the withheld evidence supported the defendant's claims of mental retardation.

The week before, the Texas Court of Criminal had denied Campbell's writ on the same topics, but a dissent by Judge Elsa Alcala (joined by Judges Price and Cochran) suggested that, "Had TDCJ not misinformed former habeas counsel regarding applicant's available IQ test scores, then this Court would have had IQ testing supportive of applicant's mental retardation claim ... and applicant would have been able to make out a prima facie case of mental retardation."

"Furthermore," wrote Alcala, "although there is nothing to suggest any impropriety of any kind by it, the Harris County District Attorney's Office was in possession of material evidence about applicant's possible, if not probable, mental retardation at the time that this Court decided his Atkins claim in 2003, but that information was not brought forward to this Court either by applicant's former habeas attorney or by the prosecution."

I must say, it's hard to understand the assertion that there's "nothing to suggest any impropriety of any kind" if prosecutors had material evidence relevant to Campbell's Atkins claim and failed to inform either defense counsel or the court. The Fifth Circuit said this information was "in the exclusive possession of the District Attorney's office." I suppose Alcala is saying defense counsel may have been ineffective in not asking for the information, even though they didn't know it existed. But surely prosecutors should have proactively provided the information or at least not withheld it in their own court pleadings.

See MSM coverage related to the case.

MORE: From The New Republic, "How Texas Keeps Putting the Intellectually Disabled on Death Row."


  1. from what I read in the decision they not only hid the information they LIED to the defense about the man's IQ adding about 20 points to his IQ from 68 to 80 something.

    so they lied and committed FRAUD. Last time I looked those are felony crimes. That also removes for all time the state's right to tell this man a damn thing. Outside of opening the prison door and handing him a check with lots and lots of zero's!

    sorry but it's the hight of two-faced treason to try and punish him for violating the law BY breaking the law yourself.

  2. What do you expect from an agency that the head of the agency tampered with official government documents trying to get his relative a job (which thousands are housed in TDCJ for the same offense). The agency Director still has not come clean about the home security and security detail mess. Unethical and immoral behavior comes with employment with TDCJ. The parole board is even worse with immoral ethics. Do you know the half-way houses that take tax payers dollars turn around and take 25% of any money an offender earns, while serving them one sausage link, one piece of toast cut three ways, and a slice of orange, for breakfast, while charging the tax-payers.. Even half way house are in the rackets of our so-call justice system. I wonder what kind of kick backs TDCJ and the parole board upper management gets in this big tax-payer fraud scheme from the half-way house contracts.

  3. well 7:59 all I can say is ouch. If someone was to try and serve that to me for breakfast especially when I'm paying for it. Would probably get to EAT IT. Plate and all!

  4. It is that failed Gateway Program that is run out of the Salvation Army in Dallas.

  5. The attack on the diminutive Rendon was so brutal…

    Campbell and his accomplice, Leroy Lewis, abducted the young Bank One teller as she fueled her car at a service station not far from her southwest side apartment about 11 p.m. on Jan. 3, 1991. The men drove her to a muddy field in the 9700 block of Knight Road, where she was sexually assaulted and ordered to run.

    Campbell, 18, paroled months earlier after serving four months of a five-year sentence for two robberies, fired a shot at Rendon's head - and missed. The second shot slammed into the woman's back with deadly effect.

  6. Those half-way houses in Dallas and Fort Worth are one massive fraud against the tax-payers. That Gateway program is one massive fraud also.

  7. The half-way house in Fort Worth run by the Volunteers of America is the worst of the worst when it comes to civil right violations and illegal acts.

  8. That Half-Way house in Fort Worth violates those imprison there Civil Rights, they use them for explortation slave labor, and will retaliate against them if they tell TDCJ Parole or probation.