Judge rules Rodriquez can’t use intellectual disability in death penalty arguments

FARGO – A federal judge says defense attorneys cannot use intellectual disability as a factor in the second death penalty debate for a man convicted in the 2003 kidnapping and killing of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin.

Judge Ralph Erickson last year overturned Rodriguez’s death sentence.  In a 232-page ruling, Erickson ordered a new sentencing phase after ruling that misleading testimony from the coroner and other factors had violated Rodriguez’s constitutional rights.

Defense attorneys then asked Erickson to reconsider intellectual disability as a defense. The judge said in an order last week that it cannot be used to consider Rodriguez’s eligibility for capital punishment.

Rodriguez, a convicted sex offender from Crookston, Minnesota, remains on death row at a federal prison in Indiana.


Categories: Local News, Minnesota News, North Dakota News