The Police NewsSouth Carolina
Federal Appeals Court Finds South Carolina Judge Ignored Uncontested Evidence of Mental Illness, Reverses Death Sentence
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.