Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, March 14, 2008

Gordon: Counsel not ineffective in failure to insist on allocution

In Gordon v. U.S., No. 05-16703 (March 7, 2008), the Court held that the defendant did not establish ineffective assistance of counsel. Gordon claimed that his counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the district court’s failure to address Gordon personally at sentencing. The Court held that even though such a failure can constitute "plain error" on direct appeal, it would not presume prejudice to the defendant in a § 2255 context. Here, the defendant did not establish prejudice.
The Court also rejected Gordon’s request for an evidentiary hearing into his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The Court noted that it could conceive of reasonable motivations for counsel’s failure to insist on the Gordon’s right to speak up at sentencing, to wit, Gordon’s remarks "might lead the court to consider [him] even less honest than it already considered him."