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AAIDD Releases Authoritative Resource on Intellectual Disability and the Death Penalty

January 13, 2015 (Washington, DC) 

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) is extremely pleased to announce the publication of The Death Penalty and Intellectual Disability. This book is the authoritative resource on the application of diagnostic information concerning intellectual disability (ID) in death penalty cases. This has been a topic of significant controversy since the Supreme Court decision in Atkins v. Virginia in 2002, prohibiting the execution of individuals with ID, and its 2014 decision in Hall v. Florida, requiring the use of scientific and medical consensus concerning intelligence and the nature and diagnosis of ID.

To respond to the important concerns related to ID determination, AAIDD assembled a group of notable scholars and clinicians to bring the best science to this discussion. This publication, edited by Edward A. Polloway, represents the work of this group, which addressed the following critical topics: foundational considerations, including diagnostic criteria, the definition of ID, the analyses of Atkins cases; assessment considerations; intellectual functioning, including IQ testing and the Flynn effect; adaptive behavior; and related topics, such as cultural and linguistic factors, competence to waive Miranda rights and to stand trial, retrospective diagnosis, malingering, comorbid disorders, educational records, and professional issues.

The Death Penalty and Intellectual Disability
provides a comprehensive and cogent resource for the use of the range of professionals involved in the determination process for intellectual disability within the criminal justice system. It is now available through the AAIDD bookstore.

Founded in 1876, AAIDD is the oldest professional association concerned with intellectual and developmental disabilities. AAIDD advocates for the equality, dignity, and human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and for their full inclusion and participation in society. Learn more about the organization at

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