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Sears V. Upton, Case Study Example

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Case Study

Facts of the Case

In 1993, Demarcus Sears was sentenced to death for armed robbery with bodily injury that led to death.  This sentence however was overturned. The latter decision came about when at the post-conviction relief petition, revelation of how Sears was badly treated during his childhood came about including the significant fact about his “frontal lobe abnormalities” which was the result of his childhood sufferings.  These facts were not presented by Sear’s attorney for his initial mistake of trying to portray Sear’s life as that of having a stable family during the penalty phase.

Issue

The main issue in the instant case, i.e., Sears v. Upton, is whether or not the initial 1993 decision of the Supreme Court of Georgia against Demarcus Sears should be upheld or not, given the new evidences presented on the case.  It is the same as saying that the issue is whether or not the US Supreme Court acted accordingly in overturning the death penalty decision against Sears after learning of the mentioned evidences. It is the stand of the USA SC that the state court failed in applying the appropriate prejudice inquiry established by the USA SC since state court restricted a more probing inquiry on prejudice when it simply relied on the statements/defense given by the defendant’s attorney and simply accepting its reasonableness.

Rule

The Supreme Court of the United States overturned on 29 June 2010 the decision rendered by the Georgia Supreme Court that gave Demarcus Sears the death penalty for armed robbery with bodily injury leading to death.  It is further decided that the case be placed into further reconsideration particularly on whether or not the attorney of Sears failed in appropriately defending him when he portrayed Sears to come from a loving an stable family that would be badly affected by his death penalty. This portrayal is in fact the opposite of Sears’ actual childhood life where, in a nutshell, he was actually abused physically, sexually and mentally that resulted into the a significant frontal lobe brain damage.

Analysis

The main question in the case is whether or not the defense provided by Sear’s attorney would change the texture of the court’s decision if instead of the information about the stable family was replaced with the defense that Sears actually have a significant frontal lobe brain damage as a result of being an abused child.  One dissenting judge did not think so. He thought that regardless of the defense provided by the attorney, the same sentence should have been rendered based on the gravity of the crime committed.  However, majority of the judges of the SC think otherwise.

Given the heavy penalty entailed, i.e., death penalty, it is my well-considered opinion that the case should indeed be again remanded for further reconsideration of the facts, particularly in regards to Sears’ cognitive abilities in relation to his abusive childhood life.

Conclusion

The Court’s conclusion that the new evidences presented in the case of Sears v. Upton should be taken into account and the previous death penalty sentence should be overturned, in my opinion, is correct.  Such evidence, particularly on the significant psychological and mental impairments, as past cases would show, can truly provide individuals reasons for doing things they would normally not do.  While these facts may not exonerate Sears from the crime, it may at least allow him to have a lesser sentence. It is my belief that he will be given a lesser sentence that that of death penalty.

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