Scott R. Poe


This Note compares Ohio's and Georgia's post-Atkins frameworks for determining mental retardation. Ohio's framework offers a fairer application of Atkins and should serve as a guide for a national legal standard for use by state trial courts to determine mental retardation. Specifically, Ohio's use of preponderance of the evidence is a more appropriate standard of proof for determining mental retardation because it better reaches the overall goal in Atkins. Allowing the judge to make the mental retardation determination protects the alleged mentally retarded defendant from potential jury bias. Because Ohio's and Georgia's definitions of mental retardation are substantially similar and mirror medical definitions of mental retardation, either definition can be adopted as the national standard. The procedures adopted by Ohio, however, weigh heavily in favor of their incorporation into a national standard. Finally, although Ohio provides a better procedural framework, the nature of mental retardation requires implementation of training programs to protect mentally retarded persons accused of crimes.