Appeals Court: Death row inmate's disability claims not properly considered

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal appeals court has ruled that a Tennessee death row inmate's mental disability claims weren't properly considered.

Byron Black was sentenced to death after his 1989 Nashville conviction in the murder of his girlfriend Angela Clay and her daughters, ages 9 and 6.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled Thursday that the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals didn't properly evaluate whether Black, who is 55, had a mental disability, according to The Tennessean.

The U.S. and Tennessee supreme courts have ruled that executing mentally disabled people violates a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Kelley Henry of the federal public defender's office declined comment. Sharon Curtis-Flair of the Tennessee Attorney General's Office said the appellate court ruling is being reviewed.

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