The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has overturned a South Carolina
death-row prisoner’s death sentence after finding that the
sentencing judge in his case had ignored uncontested evidence of
the defendant’s mental illness and history of severe childhood
abuse and neglect.
In a 2 – 1 ruling on July 26, 2022, a panel of the Fourth Circuit vacated the death sentence imposed on Quincy Allen by Richland County Circuit Court Judge G. Thomas Cooper in March 2005
for the murders of Dale Hall and Jedediah Harr. Fourth Circuit Chief
Judge Roger Gregory, joined by Judge Pamela Harris, wrote: “The
sentencer in this case excluded, ignored, or overlooked Allen’s
clear and undisputed mitigating evidence, thereby erecting
a barrier to giving this evidence meaningful consideration and
effect and eviscerating the well-established requirements of due
process in deciding who shall live and who shall die.” In so doing,
they wrote, Judge Cooper “violate[d] the Eighth Amendment’s guarantee against the arbitrary imposition of the death penalty.”
Judge Allison Jones Rushing, whose nomination to the Court by Donald Trump was confirmed by the Senate in 2019, dissented.