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Supremes Reject Belated ”Intellectually Disabled’ Claim From Death Row Inmate

News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
The Tennessee Supreme Court today upheld the lower courts’ decisions that David Keen, an inmate currently on death row, could not reopen his post-conviction proceeding to assert that he was intellectually disabled.
In 1990, David Keen raped and murdered an eight-year-old girl in Shelby County. He pleaded guilty to both offenses, and in 1991, a jury sentenced him to death. Even though state law at the time prohibited executing intellectually disabled persons, Mr. Keen did not assert that he was intellectually disabled. The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed Mr. Keen’s conviction in 1994 and affirmed his death sentence in 2000. Mr. Keen later filed an unsuccessful petition for post-conviction relief but again did not assert that he was intellectually disabled.
Nineteen years after his original death sentence, Mr. Keen asserted for the first time that he is intellectually disabled. He insisted that the courts should permit him to reopen his post-conviction proceeding to present new evidence that he was intellectually disabled. Both the Criminal Court for Shelby County and the Tennessee Court of Criminal appeals rejected this claim.

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