Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Peterka: Counsel Not Ineffective

In Peterka v. McNeil, No. 07-12363 (July 2, 2008), the Court affirmed the denial of Florida death row inmate’s habeas petition.
Peterka was convicted of a 1989 murder, and sentenced to death. He claimed that his counsel was ineffective for failing to put on evidence at the mitigation phase regarding his service in the National Guard, and his exemplary conduct in jail. The Court denied relief, finding that counsel made a strategic decision not to pursue the National Guard service out of concern that Peterka’s dismissal from the guard on account of his prior theft crime would surface. Further, the prison record showed that Peterka was "little better" than the average inmate.