Two keys wins noted Monday.
The New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Porfirio Jimenez holds that for purposes of making a Mental Retardation determination under Atkins v. Virginia: (A) a jury must be unanimous in its finding the Defendant is not mentally retarded if the matter is to be tried capitally, and (B) anything less than unanimous jury (that is at least one juror believing the defendant is mentally retarded) means a sentence less than death must be imposed. “As a result of our decision that a unanimous verdict is not required for a defendant to establish that he or she is mentally retarded and therefore, not eligible for a death sentence, we find no justification to require a separate proceeding at the close of the guilt-phase and before the penalty-phase portion of the trial to decide the issue. Rather, we conclude that the appropriate procedure is to give a defendant the opportunity to demonstrate to the jury in the penalty phase, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she is mentally retarded. If a single juror is satisfied that a defendant has met his or her burden, the defendant will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.”