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     Idaho Statutes

Idaho Statutes are updated to the website July 1 following the legislative session.


19-2515A.  Imposition of death penalty upon mentally retarded person prohibited. (1) As used in this section:
(a)  "Mentally retarded" means significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning that is accompanied by significant limitations in adaptive functioning in at least two (2) of the following skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social or interpersonal skills, use of community resources, self-direction, functional academic skills, work, leisure, health and safety. The onset of significant subaverage general intelligence functioning and significant limitations in adaptive functioning must occur before age eighteen (18) years.
(b)  "Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning" means an intelligence quotient of seventy (70) or below.
(2)  In any case in which the state has provided notice of an intent to seek the death penalty pursuant to section 18-4004A, Idaho Code, and where the defendant intends to claim that he is mentally retarded and call expert witnesses concerning such issue, the defendant shall give notice to the court and the state of such intention at least ninety (90) days in advance of trial, or such other period as justice may require, and shall apply for an order directing that a mental retardation hearing be conducted. Upon receipt of such application, the court shall promptly conduct a hearing without a jury to determine whether the defendant is mentally retarded; provided however, that no court shall, over the objection of any party, receive the evidence of any expert witness on the issue of mental retardation unless such evidence is fully subject to the adversarial process in at least the following particulars:
(a)  If a defendant fails to provide notice as required in this subsection, an expert witness shall not be permitted to testify until such time as the state has a complete opportunity to consider the substance of such testimony and prepare for rebuttal through such opposing experts as the state may choose.
(b)  A party who expects to call an expert witness to testify on the issue of mental retardation shall, on a schedule to be set by the court, furnish to the opposing party a written synopsis of the findings of such expert or a copy of a written report. The court may authorize the taking of depositions to inquire further into the substance of such synopsis or report.
(c)  Raising the issue of mental retardation shall constitute a waiver of any privilege that might otherwise be interposed to bar the production of evidence on the subject and, upon request, the court shall order that the state’s experts shall have access to the defendant in such cases for the purpose of having its own experts conduct an examination in preparation for any legal proceeding at which the defendant’s mental retardation may be in issue.
(d)  The court is authorized to appoint at least one (1) expert at public expense upon a showing by an indigent defendant that there is a need to inquire into questions of the defendant’s mental retardation. The defendant shall pay the costs of examination if he is financially able. The determination of ability to pay shall be made in accordance with chapter 8, title 19, Idaho Code. The report of the examination shall be filed in triplicate with the clerk of the court, who shall cause copies to be delivered to the prosecuting attorney and to counsel for the defendant.
(e)  If an examination cannot be conducted by reason of the unwillingness of the defendant to cooperate with either a court-appointed examiner or with any state expert, the examiner or expert shall so advise the court in writing and include, if possible, an opinion as to whether such unwillingness of the defendant was the result of mental retardation. The court may consider the defendant’s lack of cooperation for its effect on the credibility of the defendant’s mental retardation claim.
(3)  If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is mentally retarded, the death penalty shall not be imposed. The jury shall not be informed of the mental retardation hearing or the court’s findings concerning the defendant’s claim of mental retardation.
(4)  In the event of a conviction of first-degree murder of a person who has been found to be mentally retarded pursuant to subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a special sentencing proceeding shall be held promptly to determine whether the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt the existence of any of the statutory aggravating circumstances set forth in subsections 19-2515(9)(a) through (k), Idaho Code.
(a)  The special sentencing proceeding shall be conducted before a jury unless a jury is waived by the defendant with the consent of the prosecuting attorney.
(i)   If the defendant’s guilt was determined by a jury verdict, the same jury shall hear the special sentencing proceeding; provided however, that if it is impracticable to reconvene the same jury to hear the special sentencing proceeding due to an insufficient number of jurors, the trial court may dismiss that jury and convene a new jury of twelve (12) persons, plus alternate jurors as the trial court deems necessary pursuant to section 19-1904, Idaho Code.
(ii)  If the defendant’s guilt was determined by a plea of guilty or by a decision of the trial court sitting without a jury, or if a retrial of the special sentencing proceeding is necessary for any reason including, but not limited to, a mistrial in a previous special sentencing proceeding or as a consequence of a remand from an appellate court, the trial court shall impanel a jury of twelve (12) persons, plus alternate jurors as the trial court deems necessary pursuant to section 19-1904, Idaho Code, unless such jury is waived.
(iii) If a special sentencing proceeding is conducted before a newly impaneled jury, the state and the defense may present evidence to inform the jury of the nature and circumstances of the murder for which the defendant was convicted. The newly impaneled jury shall be instructed that the defendant has previously been found guilty of first-degree murder and that the jury’s purpose is limited to making findings relevant for sentencing.
(b)  At the special sentencing proceeding, the state and the defendant shall be entitled to present all evidence relevant to the determination of whether or not a statutory aggravating circumstance has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Disclosure of evidence to be relied on in the sentencing proceeding shall be made in accordance with Idaho criminal rule 16. Evidence admitted at trial shall be considered and need not be repeated at the sentencing hearing.
(c)  If a unanimous jury, or the court if a jury is waived, finds the existence of a statutory aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt, the court shall impose a fixed life sentence. If a unanimous jury, or the court if a jury is waived, does not find the existence of a statutory aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt, the court shall impose a life sentence with a minimum period of confinement of not less than ten (10) years during which period of confinement the defendant shall not be eligible for parole or discharge or credit or reduction of sentence for good conduct, except for meritorious service.
(5)  Nothing in this section is intended to alter the application of any rule of evidence or limit or extend the right of any party to assert any claim or defense otherwise available to that party.
(6)  Any remedy available by post-conviction procedure or habeas corpus shall be pursued according to the procedures and time limits set forth in section 19-2719, Idaho Code.

[19-2515A, added 2003, ch. 136, sec. 4, p. 398; am. 2006, ch. 129, sec. 2, p. 378.]

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