Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Carroll: Atkins does not compel post-conviction hearing

In Carroll v. Sec. DOC, No. 08-14317 (July 17, 2009), the Court found no constitutional violation in a Florida state court’s denial of an evidentiary hearing, in post-conviction hearings, to a death row inmate who claimed his mental retardation exempted him from the death penalty.
The Court found no support for Carroll’s argument that the Supreme Court’s decision in Atkins v. Virginia, prohibiting the execution of the mentally retarded, compelled Florida state courts to grant an evidentiary hearing in post-conviction proceedings, particularly where three prior proceedings had considered his claim of mental retardation.
The Court also rejected Carroll’s argument that Atkins must be extended to the mentally ill, not just the mentally retarded. This would be a new rule of constitutional law, which are not created on habeas review.