In Sochor v. Sec. Dep’t of Corrections, No. 10-14944 (June 27, 2012), the Court affirmed the denial of habeas relief to a Florida inmate sentenced to death for a 1981 murder.
The Court found that even if Sochor’s counsel was ineffective at the penalty phase, Sochor was not prejudiced by this ineffectiveness. The Court noted that the aggravating circumstances were that Sochor chocked his victim to death with his bare hands, causing a slow and painful death. In addition, the murder was in the course of kidnaping. The aggravating circumstances so outweighed the mitigating circumstances not presented regarding Sochor’s impairment at the time of the murder, and his manic depressive personality. Moreover, the jury heard evidence at the penalty phase of Sochor’s severe beatings as a child. Consequently, there was no reasonable probability of a different outcome.