Bobby Moore, who has been on death row in Texas for 39 years, officially had his sentence changed to life in prison in November 2019. Moore is now 60 years old and was sentenced to death for the 1980 shooting of a store clerk during a robbery in Houston. His attorneys have consistently argued for years that Moore was intellectually disabled and, therefore, should not be subject to the death penalty.
U.S. Supreme Court
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has repeatedly found that Moore was not intellectually disabled despite clear arguments to the contrary. The court ruled twice that Moore was not intellectually disabled. Texas courts previously relied on outdated medical standards and a set of controversial factors created by judges.
However, when the case went back to the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices clearly ruled that Moore had demonstrated that he was intellectually disabled. The ruling came in February of 2019. This tied the hands of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and they were forced to find him exempt from the death penalty. The Supreme Court's opinion criticized the Texas court for relying on the same standards that had previously been overturned.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals was forced to implement the Supreme Court’s ruling and overturned Moore’s death sentence. Since Moore was originally sentenced in 1980, the law as it stood at that time applies to his new sentence. This was before the punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole was enacted. Prisoners sentenced to life in prison were eligible for parole after 20 years. This means that Moore will automatically be eligible for parole. It is likely, however, that the Harris County District Attorney will oppose parole for Bobby Moore.
If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.