Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gordon: No ineffectiveness in failing to object to non-allocution

In Gordon v. U.S., No. 05-16703 (Aug. 23, 2007), the Court denied habeas relief to a federal inmate who claimed that his counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the district court’s failure to inform him of the charges to which he was pleading, and failure to address the defendant personally regarding his right to allocute.
The Court assumed that the district court erred when it did not advise Gordon of the charges to which he was pleading, but denied relief because this error did not affect Gordon’s substantial rights. The record showed that both defense counsel and the prosecutor had explained the charges to Gordon.
Because defense counsel might reasonably have decided, for strategic reasons, not to object to the absence of inquiry about Gordon’s right to allocute – because Gordon would have seemed even "less honest" if he had addressed the court – the Court found no ineffectiveness here as well.