The American Constitution Society sponsored an event on Tuesday, April 10 entitled “ Panetti v. Quarterman and the Future of the American Death Penalty.” Constitution Project President, Virginia E. Sloan moderated the panel on Scott Panetti, who is currently on death row in Texas for killing his in-laws. He suffers from severe mental illness and had been involuntarily committed 14 times before the crime. At trial, he insisted on defending himself, wore a purple cowboy suit, was often delusional and incoherent, and tried to subpoena Jesus Christ and John F. Kennedy, among others. He believes he is being executed because of his religious briefs, not because he was convicted of murder. The case raises the question of whether the Eighth Amendment permits execution in these circumstances. The forum’s panelists will include Richard Dieter, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center, and Anthony Franze, an associate at Arnold & Porter who represents a group of distinguished legal historians who filed an amicus brief in support of Mr. Panetti.The case is scheduled for oral argument in the Supreme Court on April 18 and briefs in the case can be found here.