Marvin Wilsons’ execution via lethal injection took place on 7 August 2012 for the murder of Jerry Williams in 1992, despite tests that show he has a low IQ of 61, which is an indication of mental impairment since it is below 70, the minimum for a normal person’s IQ. Marvin Wilson is a convicted robber whose arrest by the police took place for the possession of cocaine. He murdered Jerry Williams on suspicion that Williams informed the police. The Texas State attorneys argue that the one test performed on Wilson might have been faulty and hence they concluded that Wilson had average intelligence (Guardian 1). There are some unfair factors such as the ignorance by the State Court and/or racism in the process of determining Wilson’s case.
SeventhSister reports that, there have been 500 capital punishments in the State of Texas since 1976 and Professor Scott Phillips points out a black defendant are more likely to receive the death penalty as opposed to a white defendant (1). Phillips adds that this racial disparity is present in all the counties of Texas including the Jefferson County where Wilson committed the crime (SeventhSister 1). SeventhSister notes that Wilson’s appeal argued that the prosecutor made peremptory challenge measures to ensure that the jurors for this case were all non-black (1). Wilson lost this argument and as a result, there were only non-black jurors to hear the case (1). The State Court could have considered Wilson’s argument and restructured the jury to avoid the possibility of racial bias. A prosecutor can use simple racially neutral reasons in the elimination of potential jurors (1). For instance, a prosecutor may state that his/her dislikes how a potential African American juror crosses his/her legs (1). The government should also consider measures that avoid such prosecutor bias by using an independent body/person in the selection and determination the jurors.
In addition to the possibility of racial discrimination, the State Court of Texas chose to ignore that possibility of Wilson’s mental retardation. There are many pointers to Wilson’s mental condition such as his low IQ score; he had the mental capacity of a first-grader (Moye 1). Wilson’s diminished mental capacity is also evident in his problem with speech, doing math and he could not manage his personal finances or even maintain a job (Moye 1). The aspect of ignorance by the State Court is evident in the evidence presented against Wilson. The Texas State Court based Wilson’s guilt on a testimony made by Lewis’ (Wilson’s accomplice) wife, who claims that Wilson confessed to her on pulling the trigger (Rudolf 1). There is no forensic evidence that implicates Wilson to the murder. The Texas State Court used Briseno factors which are nonscientific to measure retardation and chose to ignore scientific measurements such as the IQ score (Linkins 1).
Wilson is a victim of injustice, since his case was not determined beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecutor to this case ensured that the jury was composed of non-blacks only. The evidence presented against Wilson is questionable since Lewis’ wife might have had the intention to protect her husband. The other problem is the lack of eyewitnesses to the case, as well as lack of forensic proof that links Wilson to the murder. Lastly, The State Court of Texas chose to use an unscientific method to determine Wilson’s mental state.
Guardian. Marvin Wilson execution goes ahead in Texas. Theguardian. (2012). Web: < http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/08/marvin-wilson-execution-goes-ahead>
Linkins, Jason. Texas Death Penalty Enforced Based On Outdated Methods Inspired By John Steinbeck Book. Huffingtonpost. (2012). Web:
Moye,Laura. Supreme Court must not allow executions of the mentally impaired. CNN. 2012. Web:< http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/08/opinion/moye-execution-mentally-disabled/index.html>
Rudolf, John. Marvin Wilson, Texas Man With 61 IQ, To Be Executed In Days. Huffingtonpost. (2012). Web:
SeventhSister. White Supremacy and the “Texecution” of Marvin Wilson.The Nation Social Network. (2012). Web: < http://socialnetwork.thenation.com/profiles/blogs/white-supremacy-and-the-texecution-of-marvin-wilson>.