Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Whisenant: No Actual Bias of Judge

In Whisenhant v. Allen, No. 04-15810 (Feb. 3, 2009), the Court affirmed the denial of habeas relief to an Alabama death row inmate convicted of a 1976 murder.
The Court rejected the argument that counsel was ineffective for failing to present an insanity defense. In the circumstances, counsel made a "strategic" choice.
The Court also rejected the argument that a Brady violation occurred, concluding that the suppressed documents were not material. The Court noted that the marginal value added of the reports at issue was insufficient.
The Court further rejected a claim of prosecutorial misconduct, finding that the closing argument did not misrepresent the testimony.
The Court also rejected claims of actual bias on the part of the state judge who presided over the trial.