Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, August 14, 2006

Henyard: Confession Voluntary in Habeas

In Henyard v. McDonough, No. 05-15110 (Aug. 11, 2006), the Court affirmed the denial of habeas relief to a Florida inmate sentenced to death for 1993 murders..
The Court rejected Henyard’s claim that his confession was involuntary. The Court noted that inquiries about how long interrogation would last did not constitute unequivocal invocations of the right to remain silent. Further, the police gave Henyard an opportunity to stop talking, and he waived his right to silence.
The Court also rejected Henyard’s change of venue claim. The Court found that the level of Lake County, Florida press coverage was not such as to presume prejudice.
The Court rejected the claim that counsel was ineffective at the penalty phase for not bringing up, inter alia Henyard’s neglectful childhood. The Court found that the evidence in support of such claims was not strong enough to have affected the outcome. Nor did the evidence overcome the "gruesome" nature of his murders.