We welcome you to use the sample language below in contacting your House member to support HB 1014. Please feel free to add your personal story and other details to tailor this email to your voice.
Dear Representative [Last Name],
My name is [your first and last name] and I am a Georgia voter in your district.
I am writing to encourage you to support House Bill 1014, which would change the standard of proof and process for proving intellectual disability in death penalty cases in Georgia. I also write to you today as a Catholic who believes in the sanctity of life and the protection of the vulnerable.
Intellectual disability is a cognitive disability that is characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior. The onset of intellectual disability occurs in childhood and lasts for a person’s lifetime.
In 2002, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Atkins v. Virginia that the execution of people with intellectual disabilities was a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
Georgia is the only state in the country that requires people to prove intellectual disability beyond a reasonable doubt. It is also the only state that asks the jury to decide guilt and intellectual disability simultaneously. No one facing the death penalty in Georgia has ever met the standard.
Only through lowering the standard of proof and removing the determination of intellectual disability from the guilt phase of the trial can we ensure that Georgians with intellectual disability are not at risk of facing an unconstitutional death sentence.
Please help to protect vulnerable Georgians from execution through supporting House Bill 1014.
[Your Contact Information]