Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hendrix: Judge's Appearance of Bias not a basis for habeas relief

In U.S. v. Hendrix, No. 07-12117 (May 13, 2008), the Court denied habeas relief to a Florida death row inmate sentenced.
The Court rejected Hendrix’ challenge to the refusal of the state court judge to recuse himself. The Court noted that Hendrix bore the burden of showing that the presiding judge had considered matters not disclosed to the defendant. The Court added that the mere "appearance of bias" was insufficient to warrant habeas relief.
The Court also rejected the claim that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call an additional mental health expert, pointing out that this expert wrote that the defendant committed a "calculated" murder, and did not suffer from a mental defect.
Finally, the Court concluded that undisclosed evidence was not "material" to Hendrix’ trial in view of the other overwhelming evidence against him.