Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, July 24, 2009

Philmore: Right to Counsel did not yet attach

In Philmore v. McNeil, No. 07-13637 (July 23, 2009), the Court affirmed the denial of habeas relief to a Florida inmate sentenced to death for a 1997 murder.
The Court rejected Philmore’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Philmore argued that his defense counsel in a bank robbery case was ineffective in allowingd him to speak to law enforcement. In his discussions, Philmore divulged information that incupalted him in a murder with which he had not (yet) been charged. The Court held that defense counsel in the bank robbery could not have been constitutionally deficient in the murder case, because Philmore had not been charged with murder, and no Sixth Amendment right had yet attached.
The Court also found no ineffectiveness in counsel’s failure to prevail on a Batson claim when a member of the jury panel was struck by the prosecution. The Court pointed out that counsel challenged the strike.
The Court found no ineffectiveness in failing to call an expert on Philmore’s mental impairment, as his testimony would have contradicted other defense experts.’
Finally, the Court noted that Philmore’s challenge to the state court’s failure to taking account of the mitigating evidence of mental disturbance was procedurally defaulted.