Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Rozzelle: Actual Innocence means more than guilt of lesser offense

In Rozzelle v. Sec. Dep’t of Corrections, No. 10-13595 (Feb. 29, 2012), the Court held that a habeas petitioner’s claim that he was guilty only of manslaughter, but not second-degree murder, did not constitute an "actual innocence" claim for purposes of creating a "gateway" to relief for a petition that is time-barred under the statute of limitations of the AEDPA. Actual innocence does not narrowly slice "the various degrees of wrongdoing."
In addition, the Court found that Rozzelle’s proof of actual innocence fell short of establishing actual innocence, because the jury heard virtually the same evidence as the new evidence Rozzelle now presented.