Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Henry: Not Ineffective Not to Put On Mental Health Experts
In Henry v. Sec. Dep’t of Corrections, No. 06-13821 (June 27, 2007), the Court affirmed the denial of habeas relief to a Florida inmate sentenced to death for a 1985 murder. The Court rejected the argument that counsel was ineffective for failing to call mental health experts at the penalty phase of Henry’s second trial for murder. The Court pointed out that after these experts testified at the first trial, the jury recommended the imposition of the death sentence. Further, one of the experts characterized Henry as a "very dangerous person." At the second trial, Henry’s new counsel elected not to call mental health experts, but to put on favorable testimony from persons who knew Henry well. The Court held that in these circumstances, it was not ineffective assistance to make the tactical decision not to call mental health experts.