The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that an insane person could not be executed. That same ruling found flaws in a Florida law that allowed the governor, after hearing from a panel of psychiatrists, to decide whether an inmate was competent.
Allen's attorneys said Oklahoma's law is similarly flawed since it gives the prison warden broad discretion. U.S. District Judge David Russell, in staying Allen's execution, wrote this week that the Oklahoma procedure was “troubling” in light of the 1986 case.
According to Allen's attorneys, Allen was evaluated by a neuropsychologist in February and deemed incompetent to stand trial.
“Mr. Allen is demented, functioning akin to an Alzheimer's patient with severe incapacities in his ability to retain and process information,” a brief filed with the 10th Circuit court states.
Alex Weintz, spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin, said Friday that the governor “is satisfied that Allen has had ample opportunity to plead his case. Allen has now had three chances to argue incompetency in court. In all three cases, he has been determined competent and sane.
“Nevertheless, the federal court's decision will give Allen yet another opportunity to argue a defense of insanity,” Weintz said.