State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_15A > GS_15A-2005

§ 15A‑2005.  Mentallyretarded defendants; death sentence prohibited.

(a)        (1)        Thefollowing definitions apply in this section:

a.         Mentally retarded. –Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning, existingconcurrently with significant limitations in adaptive functioning, both ofwhich were manifested before the age of 18.

b.         Significantlimitations in adaptive functioning. – Significant limitations in two or moreof the following adaptive skill areas: communication, self‑care, homeliving, social skills, community use, self‑direction, health and safety,functional academics, leisure skills and work skills.

c.         Significantlysubaverage general intellectual functioning. – An intelligence quotient of 70or below.

(2)        The defendant hasthe burden of proving significantly subaverage general intellectualfunctioning, significant limitations in adaptive functioning, and that mentalretardation was manifested before the age of 18. An intelligence quotient of 70or below on an individually administered, scientifically recognizedstandardized intelligence quotient test administered by a licensed psychiatristor psychologist is evidence of significantly subaverage general intellectualfunctioning; however, it is not sufficient, without evidence of significantlimitations in adaptive functioning and without evidence of manifestationbefore the age of 18, to establish that the defendant is mentally retarded.

(b)        Notwithstanding anyprovision of law to the contrary, no defendant who is mentally retarded shallbe sentenced to death.

(c)        Upon motion of thedefendant, supported by appropriate affidavits, the court may order a pretrialhearing to determine if the defendant is mentally retarded. The court shallorder such a hearing with the consent of the State. The defendant has theburden of production and persuasion to demonstrate mental retardation by clearand convincing evidence. If the court determines the defendant to be mentallyretarded, the court shall declare the case noncapital, and the State may notseek the death penalty against the defendant.

(d)        The pretrialdetermination of the court shall not preclude the defendant from raising anylegal defense during the trial.

(e)        If the court doesnot find the defendant to be mentally retarded in the pretrial proceeding, uponthe introduction of evidence of the defendant's mental retardation during thesentencing hearing, the court shall submit a special issue to the jury as towhether the defendant is mentally retarded as defined in this section. Thisspecial issue shall be considered and answered by the jury prior to theconsideration of aggravating or mitigating factors and the determination ofsentence. If the jury determines the defendant to be mentally retarded, thecourt shall declare the case noncapital and the defendant shall be sentenced tolife imprisonment.

(f)         The defendant hasthe burden of production and persuasion to demonstrate mental retardation tothe jury by a preponderance of the evidence.

(g)        If the jurydetermines that the defendant is not mentally retarded as defined by thissection, the jury may consider any evidence of mental retardation presentedduring the sentencing hearing when determining aggravating or mitigatingfactors and the defendant's sentence.

(h)        The provisions ofthis section do not preclude the sentencing of a mentally retarded offender toany other sentence authorized by G.S. 14‑17 for the crime of murder inthe first degree. (2001‑346,s. 1.)