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Name: People v. Superior Court (Vidal)
Case #: F045226
Opinion Date: 12/06/2004
Citation: 124 Cal.App.4th 806

Appellant was charged with murder, and an evidentiary hearing was held to determine whether he was mentally retarded under Penal Code Section 1376, which would have precluded imposition of the death penalty. The trial court used appellant’s verbal IQ scores of 59 to 77 over his full scale IQ score of 92 as a measure of intellectual functioning, and found him mentally retarded. The prosecutor petitioned for writ relief, and the appellate court here granted relief. Since the finding terminated only part of the action, the prosecutor could seek review of the trial court’s finding. The trial court used the wrong measure of overall intelligence, and a redetermination was necessary. The full scale IQ score is the primary factor for assessing general intellectual functioning for purposes of Section 1376, and deficits in adaptive behavior must also be present.