Atkins v. Virginia | Definition

Atkins v. Virginia

Atkins v. Virginia is a US Supreme Court case that was decided in 2002. In this case, the Court held that it is unconstitutional to execute people with intellectual disabilities, as it violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The case had significant implications for criminal justice, as it effectively prohibited states from imposing the death penalty on people with intellectual disabilities. Prior to this decision, many states had laws that allowed for the execution of people with intellectual disabilities, and this case marked a major shift in the legal landscape. The decision in Atkins v. Virginia has had a lasting impact on the criminal justice system and has helped to ensure that people with intellectual disabilities are treated more fairly and humanely within the criminal justice system.


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