Death penalty, mental illness: Dahlia Lithwick talks with Kathryn Kase and Brandon Garrett about Panetti v. Quarterman.

Amicus Revisits a Case Involving Mental Illness and the Death Penalty

Amicus Revisits a Case Involving Mental Illness and the Death Penalty

Law and the Supreme Court justices who interpret it.
Nov. 22 2014 2:26 PM

Amicus: Mental Illness and the Death Penalty

Dahlia Lithwick talks with Scott Panetti’s lawyer and a law professor about issues raised by Panetti v. Quarterman.

Huntsville Prison in Huntsville, Texas
Death row in Huntsville Prison in Huntsville, Texas, in 1997.

Photo by Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images

Listen to Episode 6 of Slate’s Amicus:

In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case called Panetti v. Quarterman. It raised questions about whether a Texas murderer, Scott Panetti, was too mentally ill to be put to death.


The high court sent the case back to the Texas courts, with instructions to look more carefully into whether Panetti’s schizophrenia and delusions made him ineligible for the death penalty. The lower courts determined he was still fit for the death penalty. Panetti is set to be executed on Dec. 3.

On Episode 6 of Slate’s Amicus, we hear an excerpt from the oral argument from April 2007. Plus, Dahlia talks with Scott Panetti’s lawyer, Kathryn Kase, and the University of Virginia’s Brandon Garrett about the death penalty, mental illness, and the high court.

Please let us know what you think of Amicus, which will appear several times a month to start.

Podcast production by Tony Field.

Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate and hosts the podcast Amicus.