Geronimo Rene Gutierrez was sentenced to death in 2002 for the alleged offense of the kidnapping and murder of Rick Marin of San Antonio. According to court records, Mr. Gutierrez was accused of abducting Rick Marin and shooting him five (5) times so that he could steal his Ford Mustang for its engine.
Not long after Mr. Gutierrez’s trial, the Supreme Court held in Atkins v. Virginia stated that it would be a “cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment” to sentence people with “mental retardation” (intellectual disability) to death.
In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a guide used by health care professionals to help determine and classify mental disorders, went through changes. It introduced a new term and definition to “mental retardation,” renaming it to “intellectual disability” and defining the range of disability on a 100-point scale from 65 to 75. Bexar County District Attorney’s Office reports, that Mr. Gutierrez’s appeals raised concerns regarding his disability because he was found to have an IQ of 72. His intellectual disability existed at the time of his crime, trial and during his conviction.
The Supreme Court ruled that in 2017 the foundation to establish the validity of Mr. Gutierrez’s intellectual disability claims were unconstitutional because they were not based on the views of health care professionals. Since then, multiple experts have agreed that Mr. Gutierrez is intellectually disabled.
In 2019, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals remanded the case to trial court, so they make a new recommendation based on the issue of intellectual disability. Mr. Gutierrez was represented by Mr. Goldstein and Ms. Orr of Goldstein & Orr and the Court of Criminal Appeals accepted the recommendation of the trial court and accepted it in a ruling. In short, the court’s ruling indicated that Mr. Gutierrez, an intellectually disabled man from San Antonio, would have his sentenced reduced for the alleged offense of a 1999 shotgun murder.
Being accused of a criminal offense can be stressful as Texas Laws are complicated and for someone unfamiliar it can be overwhelming. In recent years, various prisoners have witnessed challenges having their sentenced reduced. However, in 2017 the Supreme Court “highlighted Texas’ reliance on a host of outdated, unscientific standards in determining intellectual disability” (See American Bar Association and Moore vs. Texas). In addition, former death row prisoners have been re-sentenced to life in prison after the Moore vs. Texas case.
Cynthia Orr and Gerry Goldstein are honored to represent Geronimo Gutierrez and to have played a part in saving the life of a person who is ineligible for the death penalty. Executing persons with intellectual disabilities is cruel and unusual punishment under the US Constitution. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals spared Geronimo Gutierrez’s life because of his intellectual disability. Elected District Attorney, Joe Gonzalez, has exercised great wisdom in this case. And David Weiss with the Capital Representation Project and Naomi Fenwick with the Texas Defender Service were invaluable co-counsel for Mr. Gutierrez.
If you believe your rights are being violated or you are being accused of committing an offense retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. Goldstein & Orr can help you fight the charges and make sure your rights are represented in each step of the criminal process. Call us at (210) 226-1463 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Photo by Jerry Lara from San Antonio Express News