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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Ryan Prager (18) celebrates getting the last strikeout during A&Ms games against Vanderbilt on Friday, April 11, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Ring Day run rule
April 12, 2024
Sophomore LHP Ryan Prager (18) celebrates getting the last strikeout during A&Ms games against Vanderbilt on Friday, April 11, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Ring Day run rule
April 12, 2024
Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
When it rains, it pours
February 24, 2024
Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024
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Dr. Weston Porter (top left) and researchers from the breast cancer lab. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Weston Porter)
New A&M research initiative provides cutting-edge cancer treatments
J.M. Wise, News Reporter • April 8, 2024

It has been 20 months since Michelle Pozzi, Ph.D, of Texas A&M’s Biochemistry and Biophysics department was diagnosed with cancer. However,...

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Sophomore LHP Ryan Prager (18) celebrates getting the last strikeout during A&Ms games against Vanderbilt on Friday, April 11, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Ring Day run rule
Neil Jhurani, Sports Writer • April 12, 2024

It was Ring Day in Aggieland when No. 3 Texas A&M faced off against No. 6 Vanderbilt on Friday night in the first game of a three-game set. The...

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Students, residents commemorates Eid Al-Fitr
Lasan Ukwatta Liyanage, Life & Arts Writer • April 11, 2024

This year's Eid Al-Fitr celebration, hosted by Texas A&M’s Muslim Student Association, or MSA, drew over 1,500 attendees on Wednesday,...

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Student housing located right outside off campus boundaries on George Bush Drive. 
Guest Commentary: An open letter to City Hall
Ben Crockett, Guest Contributor • April 11, 2024

City Council, As representatives of the Texas Aggie Classes of 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, we write to you today to urge a reconsideration...

Courts consider mental health claims

AUSTIN – In the year and a half since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled mentally retarded inmates cannot be executed, state and federal appeals courts have delayed or sent back to trial 41 Texas death row cases to decide whether the killer was mentally retarded, says a group that tracks the claims.
Critics of the Texas’ capital punishment system say the numbers show death row has dozens of people who may be ineligible for execution.
Death penalty supporters wonder if inmates are trying to delay justice by jamming the courts with new claims of mental retardation.
Both sides agree the Legislature should change state law to decide mental retardation earlier to reduce the burden on appeals courts.
When the Supreme Court ruled, it left it up to the states to determine mental retardation, and the Texas criminal justice system has been groping in the dark ever since.
”Texas has no system in place, and what you have is chaos,” said Steve Hall, director of StandDown Texas, which opposes the death penalty.
Dianne Clements, president of the victims rights group Justice For All, said it’s difficult not having a clear state definition of mental retardation.
”These defendants are taking every opportunity they can to remove themselves from death row. If a defendant raises the claim, we provide them with super due process because of the law,” Clements said.
Texas has about 450 prisoners on death row.
The Texas Defender Service, which represents capital murder defendants on appeal, has tracked the number of post-conviction mental retardation claims by death row inmates since the Supreme Court’s 2002 ruling.
The state Court of Criminal Appeals has sent 37 cases back to trial courts for hearings. Four cases were remanded by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The first was the case of Jose Briseno, convicted of killing Dimmit County Sheriff Ben ”Doc” Murray in 1991. Briseno was spared just hours before his July 10, 2002, scheduled execution. This past week, the Court of Criminal Appeals upheld a trial judge’s rejection of his mental retardation claims.

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