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Intelligence on trial

The week's news at a glance.

Yorktown, Va.

A Virginia man who escaped execution because he was mentally retarded may have learned so much during his lengthy appeals that he could be returned to death row. Lawyers for Daryl Atkins, 27, took his case to the Supreme Court, three years ago, and the justices ruled that it was unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded. With an IQ of 59, Atkins qualified; the state’s legal cutoff for retardation is 70. But experts retested Atkins recently, and he scored 74. A psychologist attributed the jump to the “mental stimulation” of frequent talks with his lawyers. This spring, a jury will determine whether Atkins should remain classified as retarded, or whether he can now be executed.

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