An unidentified death row inmate in his cell in the North Condemned Unit at Pontiac Correctional Institution in Pontiac, Ill. 
Photo by Seth Perlman/AP

Supreme Court declines to decide how long is too long on death row

Updated

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected and updated to reflect that the Supreme Court initially indicated it would hear the death row time-limit issue. Later on Monday, the court issued an updated orders list indicating that it will not. It will decide only another issue raised by Moore regarding his mental status.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear a claim from a Texas prison inmate that spending decades on death row amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

Bobby James Moore was sentenced to death by a Texas court more than 35 years ago. “Forcing a prisoner to endure decades on death row raises profound constitutional concerns,” his lawyer said in urging the court to take up the issue.

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But after first indicating it would hear the death row time-limit issue, the court later Monday issued an updated orders list indicating that it will not. It will decide only another issue raised by Moore regarding his mental status.

Moore was one of three people who set out to rob a Houston grocery store in 1980. During the robbery, one of the employees was shot and killed. Moore was convicted and sentenced to death.
Lower courts denied his claim regarding the amount of time he has spent on death row, finding that the delay was caused in part by his own repeated appeals.

His lawyers also argue that he is intellectually disabled, falling below the minimum IQ level to make him death-eligible based on previous Supreme Court rulings. The issue the court will hear is whether modern medical standards should be used to dermine whether he is intellectually disabled.

The court will hear the case in its next term, which begins in October.

This article first appeared on NBCNews.com

Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, SCOTUS and Supreme Court

Supreme Court declines to decide how long is too long on death row

Updated