Vinson & Elkins Wins Habeas Relief for Jose Rivera
On March 31, 2006, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas granted habeas relief to Jose Rivera. Reversing the decision of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the District Court ruled that Rivera was mentally retarded. This finding was based on multiple factors, including Rivera’s IQ test scores and educational history. Rivera dropped out of school at age 17, having only reached ninth grade. At age 14, Rivera was diagnosed as having attained a first grade level of proficiency in reading, writing, and math. Using the test for mental retardation in the landmark United States Supreme Court case Atkins v. Virginia. Because Rivera was found to be mentally retarded, the court ruled that the state of Texas is prohibited from executing him, based on the ruling of the United States Supreme Court in. Vinson & Elkins LLP , a law firm recruited by the Project, provided pro bono representation to Mr. Rivera.