One of two death row inhabitants convicted by Mike Easley when he was a DA, Elton McLaughlin, is going to instead serve a life sentence. The man was declared mentally retarded because he scored a 70 on an IQ test when he was ten. State law requires IQ tests to be administered by a licensed professional in order to be considered when determining mental retardation for these purposes. The state contended that McLaughlin could not use his test because it was administered by a teacher rather than a mental health professional. The problem for the state was:
McLaughlin's attorneys said the requirement that the test be performed by a mental health professional was unfair because McLaughlin attended a segregated school, which didn't have such licensed professionals on staff. The judge agreed.
That is one person off the chopping block, but if you look at our calendar on the left, there are a couple more coming up, including Jerry Conner, where the state will not consent to allow a DNA test that he says will exonerate him.