Brewer v. Quarterman

In Brewer v. Quarterman, U.S. 127 S.Ct. 1706, 167 L.Ed.2d 622 (2007), the petitioner presented mitigating evidence "that he had a bout with depression three months before the murder; that he was briefly hospitalized for that depression; that his co-defendant, a woman, with whom he was apparently obsessed, dominated and manipulated him; that he had been abused by his father; that he had witnessed his father abuse his mother; and that he had abused drugs." 127 S.Ct. at 1710 (quoting Brewer v. Dretke, 442 F.3d 273, 275 (5th Cir.2006) (per curiam). On this evidence, the Court reversed the Fifth Circuit because the "jury must be allowed not only to consider such evidence, or to have such evidence before it, but to respond to it in a reasoned, moral manner and to weigh such evidence in its calculus of deciding whether a defendant is truly deserving of death." Id. at 1714. In Brewer v. Quarterman, 550 U.S. 286, 127 S.Ct. 1706, 167 L.Ed.2d 622 (2007), the Court concluded that an additional instruction was necessary in order to allow the jury to consider and give effect to evidence that the petitioner's "co-defendant, a woman with whom he was apparently obsessed, dominated and manipulated him," and that the petitioner had a history of substance abuse. 550 U.S. at 289-90, 127 S.Ct. 1706. The Brewer majority concluded that there was a reasonable likelihood that the special issues led the jury to "disregard any independent concern that, given Brewer's troubled background, he may not be deserving of a death sentence," and therefore deprived the jury of the opportunity to respond to the petitioner's mitigating evidence in a "reasoned moral manner." Id. at 294, 296, 127 S.Ct. 1706.