California Intellectual Disability Legislation

On September 30, 2020, California Governor Newsom signed into law AB-2512 which amends California's statute (Cal. Penal Code section 1376) related to the prohibition on executing the intellectually disabled.  The amendments alter the definition of intellectual disability, changing the third prong age of on-set requirement from "before 18 years of age" to "the end of the developmental period, as defined by clinical standards."  A defendant or death row inmate is entitled to a determination of a claim of exemption from the death penalty due to intellectual disability upon a showing of a prima facie case.  As defined in the amended statute, "'Prima facie showing of intellectual disability' means that the defendant’s allegation of intellectual disability is based on the type of evidence typically relied on by a qualified expert in diagnosing intellectual disability, as defined in current clinical standards, or when a qualified expert provides a declaration diagnosing the defendant as intellectually disabled."  If an evidentiary hearing is held concerning a death row inmate's claim of intellectual disability, the statute now provides that "an expert may testify about the contents of out-of-court statements, including documentary evidence and statements from witnesses when those types of statements are accepted by the medical community as relevant to a diagnosis of intellectual disability if the expert relied upon these statements as the basis for their opinion."   Under new subsection (g) of the statute, "The results of a test measuring intellectual functioning shall not be changed or adjusted based on race, ethnicity, national origin, or socioeconomic status."