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FI 053/21-1
USA (Texas)
Abgeschlossen am 25. Mai 2021

Texas man executed based on faulty theory

AI-Index: AMR/51/4194/2021

Quintin Jones was executed on 19 May. He was on death row in Texas in connection with the 1999 murder of his 83-year-old great aunt when he was just 20 years old. The sentencing jury was presented with a since discredited theory regarding his «future dangerousness», which proved to be a key factor leading to his death sentence. His first postconviction attorney filed both the state habeas application and federal habeas petition late, which prevented meaningful review of his case. The victim’s sister and great-nephew called for clemency for Jones. Unfortunately, Texas authorities denied that request.

Quintin Phillippe Jones, a Black man, was executed on 19 May 2021. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2001 for the 1999 murder of an 83-year-old woman, his great aunt, Berthena Bryant, in Tarrant County, Texas. The death occurred during a botched robbery attempt.

In the sentencing phase of his trial, the State largely relied on the testimony of a psychologist who diagnosed Jones as a «psychopath» and equated «psychopathy» to a propensity for future dangerousness to the jury based on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R), a 20-item checklist/rating scale intended to be used by trained professionals to measure the personality disorder of psychopathy that has since been discredited as unreliable, unscientific, and misleading in capital cases, because the PCL-R/Hare Checklist cannot reliably predict future behavior in prison. Quintin Phillippe Jones sentence came after ineffective assistance of counsel prevented the timely filing of appeals leading to a substantive review of issues related to his conviction.

Berthena Bryant’s lone surviving sibling, also Quintin Jones’ great aunt, and Quintin’s twin brother provided declarations for Quintin’s appeal for clemency noting Quintin’s transformation in prison and pleading not to revictimize the family with his execution. Quintin Jones’ lawyers filed a civil rights complaint against the Board, noting the similarity between Quintin Jones’ case and Thomas Whitaker, a white man, who was granted clemency by the Board in 2015 and spared execution, however, US District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. dismissed the complaint.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a violation of human rights. The US has executed 1533 people since 1976, and the State of Texas has now accounted for 577 of those executions. This was the first state execution in the USA in 2021.

No further action is requested. Many thanks to all who sent appeals.

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