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Tag Archives: Mental Retardation

Criminal Practice – Habeas Corpus – Death-Row Defendant – Mental Retardation – Ineffective Assistance Claim (access required)

Winston v. Pearson The 4th Circuit affirms a grant of habeas relief to a defendant convicted of the capital murder of a couple in their home, after the district court’s de novo review of defendant’s claim that his trial attorneys were ineffective for failure to raise a claim under Atkins v. Virginia that defendant’s mental retardation barred imposition of the death penalty.

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Criminal Practice – Habeas Corpus – Writ Reversed – N.C. Death-Row Defendant – Constitutional – Ineffective Assistance Claim — Brady Evidence – Mental Retardation (access required)

Richardson v. Branker The 4th Circuit reverses a district court’s issuance of a habeas writ to a North Carolina death-row defendant, as the proper review by the federal court indicates the conviction cannot be overturned for the claimed errors of ineffective assistance of counsel, withholding of exculpatory evidence or proof of petitioner’s mental retardation.

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Administrative – Social Security – Evidence — Mental Retardation – Single IQ Test (access required)

Hancock v. Astrue An administrative law judge can reject findings that a claimant is mentally retarded even if there is only one set of test scores in the record; the 4th Circuit joins the majority of federal appeals courts in this view, and upholds the ALJ’s rejection of this claimant’s application for supplemental security income benefits, in light of her past work history and ability to manage daily life.

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Administrative – Medicaid – Waiver Program – Mental Retardation – Definition – Onset Date (access required)

Doe v. South Carolina Department of Health & Human Services South Carolina adopted a broad definition of mental retardation in S.C. Code Ann. § 44-20-30, using language that parallels the Supplemental Security Income definition, which includes the onset of impairment before age 22. In Regulation 88-210, the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) interpreted that definition in a manner consistent with the Social Security Administration; thus, DDSN’s interpretation of § 44-20-30 in its policy guidelines - requiring an onset of impairment before age 18 — directly conflicts with Regulation 88-210 and should be disregarded.

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