United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Quincy J. Allen, Petitioner,
Willie D. Davis, Warden, Kirkland Reception and Evaluation Center, Respondent.
J. GOSSETT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
petitioner, Quincy J. Allen (“Petitioner”), is a
state prisoner sentenced to death. This matter is before the
court on Petitioner's request for counsel (ECF No. 1) and
motion to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No.
Respondent has filed a response (ECF No. 6), to which
Petitioner replied (ECF No. 7).
for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
has filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis, together with an Application to Proceed in
District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Form AO-240).
The court has reviewed these submissions and finds Petitioner
has shown that he is indigent and qualifies to proceed in
forma pauperis in this case. Accordingly, the court
GRANTS Petitioner's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis (ECF No. 5).
for Appointment of Counsel
to 18 U.S.C. § 3599(a)(2), indigent death-sentenced
prisoners are “entitled to the appointment of one or
more attorneys” to pursue federal habeas corpus
remedies. Further, “the right to counsel necessarily
includes a right for that counsel meaningfully to research
and present a defendant's habeas claims.”
McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 858 (1994). Thus,
§ 3599 contemplates the appointment of qualified counsel
prior to the filing of a petition for writ of habeas corpus.
In addition, § 3599 sets forth the required
qualifications for appointed counsel in capital cases:
(c) If the appointment is made after judgment, at least one
attorney so appointed must have been admitted to practice in
the court of appeals for not less than five years, and must
have had not less than three years experience in the handling
of appeals in that court in felony cases.
(d) With respect to subsection . . . (c), the court, for
good cause, may appoint another attorney whose background,
knowledge, or experience would otherwise enable him or her to
properly represent the defendant, with due consideration to
the seriousness of the possible penalty and to the unique and
complex nature of the litigation.
this District has a plan for implementing the Criminal
Justice Act, which also governs the qualifications for
appointed counsel in federal capital habeas corpus
proceedings. See In re Amendments to the Plan of
the United States District Court for the District of South
Carolina for Implementing the Criminal Justice
Act, No. 3:18-mc-00199-CIV (D.S.C. June 1, 2018)
(“CJA Plan”). Pursuant to the CJA Plan, this
District maintains a panel of qualified attorneys available
to represent indigent defendants. In recognizing the
particular complexity of capital cases, the CJA Plan
instructs the court, where appropriate, to utilize the expert
services available through the Administrative Office of the
United States (“AO”), which include capital
habeas units and federal community defender offices. CJA Plan
§ XIV(B)(4). In addition, “[a]ll attorneys
appointed in federal capital cases must be well qualified, by
virtue of their training, commitment, and distinguished prior
capital defense experience at the relevant stage of the
proceeding, to serve as counsel in this highly specialized
and demanding litigation.” Id. §
XIV(B)(6). And, “[a]ll attorneys appointed in federal
capital cases must have sufficient time and resources to
devote to the representation, taking into account their
current caseloads and the extraordinary demands of federal
capital cases.” Id. § XIV(B)(7).
appointment of counsel in capital § 2254 cases
specifically, the CJA Plan offers the following guidance:
. . . .
3. Out-of-District Counsel, including federal defender
organization staff, who possess the requisite expertise may
be considered for appointment as co-counsel in § 2254
cases to achieve cost and other efficiencies together with
high quality representation.
. . . .
6. Counsel in capital § 2254 cases should have
distinguished prior experience in the area of federal
post-conviction proceedings and in ...