Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reed: Not Ineffective To Agree Not to Put On Evidence

In Reed v. Sec. Dep’t of Corrections, No. 09-10059 (Jan. 11, 2010), the Court affirmed the denial of habeas relief to a Florida inmate sentenced to death for a 1986 murder.

The Court rejected the argument that counsel was ineffective at the penalty phase when he agreed with the prosecutor not to put on any mitigating evidence in exchange for the prosecutor’s agreement not to present aggravating evidence. The Court noted that counsel had done a reasonable investigation of Reed’s background, that the mitigating evidence would not have changed the outcome, and that Reed himself had instructed counsel not to put on mitigating evidence. Moreover, Reed could not show that he suffered prejudice as a result of counsel’s decision, pointing out that evidence about Reed’s background that would have come in would have included “devastating” instances of his attacks on his grandmother.