Alfred Bourgeois: Man to be executed on Dec 11 for killing daughter is intellectually disabled, says lawyer

Bourgeois' execution has been given the go-ahead despite his lawyer claiming that he has intellectual disability and that his death would be unconstitutional


                            Alfred Bourgeois: Man to be executed on Dec 11 for killing daughter is intellectually disabled, says lawyer
(Police handout)

Alfred Bourgeois, a truck driver from Louisiana on death row for murdering his 2-year-old daughter, is scheduled to be executed on Friday, December 11. Bourgeois would be the ninth federal prisoner to be executed this year, months after President Donald Trump's administration resumed executions after 17 years. Bourgeois' execution has been given the go-ahead despite his lawyers claiming that he has intellectual disability and that his death would be unconstitutional.

Bourgeois, in July 2002, during a work delivery at Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi, repeatedly slammed his daughter’s head into a windshield and dashboard enraged that she had tipped over her potty trainer, court documents stated. The two-year-old sustained life threatening injuries and was placed on life support before succumbing at a hospital. Bourgeois, was promptly convicted and sentenced to death in 2004. He was also convicted of sexually molesting his daughter, according to the court document.

Bourgeois' attorney, Vic Abreu, in a statement to MEA Worldwide (MEAWW) said: "Mr. Bourgeois is a person with intellectual disability, and both the Constitution and the plain language of the Federal Death Penalty Act bar his execution. The jury that sentenced Mr. Bourgeois to death never learned that he was a person with intellectual disability because his trial lawyers did not present the evidence that was available to them. When the performance of his trial lawyers was later challenged on appeal, the court denied relief using outdated and unscientific standards and stereotypes about people with intellectual disability that have been thoroughly rejected by scientific community and the United States Supreme Court in Moore v. Texas."

"In the wake of Moore, Mr. Bourgeois again sought review of his case and was granted a stay of execution to prove his intellectual disability under current scientific standards as the Supreme Court required," the lawyer continued. "In a ruling that paves the way for Mr. Bourgeois to be executed without any court ever reviewing the evidence of his intellectual disability using proper scientific standards, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that because Mr. Bourgeois was previously denied relief, he could not seek further review of his claim. Now, even though the Court of Appeals has not concluded its review of that panel decision, has not issued a ruling or issued its mandate, the government has scheduled an execution date for Mr. Bourgeois."

He is scheduled to receive a lethal injection at the Federal Correction Complex Terre Haute in Indiana.

Three other federal executions have been scheduled before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20. One of the executions is of Cory Johnson, a crack cocaine dealer on death row for taking at least 10 lives within 45 days in 1992, and who is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on January 14. His attorneys, however, have also stated that Johnson, 45, suffers from intellectual disability, which prohibits him from being executed under federal and Constitutional law.

Johnson's attorneys, Ronald J Tabak and Donald P Salzman, in a joint statement to MEAWW, said: "Corey Johnson is a person with intellectual disability. Yet, despite compelling evidence demonstrating his intellectual disability, no jury or court has ever listened to the evidence at a hearing to decide if he has intellectual disability.  Under federal law and pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision in Atkins v Virginia, Mr Johnson’s intellectual disability should prohibit his execution from being constitutionally carried out. We are not aware of any other federal death penalty prisoner who has never had a single evidentiary hearing at which he could present his intellectual disability evidence. The government should not proceed with Mr Johnson’s execution in the absence of a thorough and fair opportunity for him to present this evidence." 

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