Moore's case was eventually appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a 5-3 decision in 2017, the Court overturned the criminal appeals court's decision, saying the Briseno factors were outside of the clinical consensus means of evaluating one's mental capacity and adding that the appeals court strayed from Supreme Court precedent in its decision.
The Supreme Court told the lower court to reassess Moore's eligibility for the death penalty using the updated standards. The appeals court reconsidered the case but again concluded the Moore was eligible for the death penalty.
However, the Supreme Court said Tuesday that the appeals court demonstrated "too many instances in which, with small variations, it repeats the analysis we previously found wanting, and these same parts are critical to its ultimate conclusion."
"We conclude that the appeals court's opinion, when taken as a whole and when read in the light both of our prior opinion and the trial court record, rests upon analysis too much of which too closely resembles what we previously found improper," the Supreme Court found. "And extricating that analysis from the opinion leaves too little that might warrant reaching a different conclusion than did the trial court."
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the majority ruling, saying that the Supreme Court had not been clear in stating how lower courts should apply standards for evaluating intellectual disability. They said the role of the Supreme Court was to consider the standards used by lower courts, not to review factual findings of a particular case.
In their response to the ruling, the Catholic Mobilizing Network said they "continue to pray for Bobby James Moore's victim, James McCarble, and his family," and encouraged Catholics to defend all human life.
"As a Church, we are called to the work of building a culture of life that upholds human dignity," Murphy said. "Catholics should pay attention to death penalty cases before the Supreme Court such as this one, because they serve as important measures of how the highest court in the land is working to defend or disregard human life."