Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Evans: Brain Damage evidence is basis for habeas relief

In Evans v. Sec. Dep’t of Corrections, No. 10-14920 (May 23, 2012) (2-1) (Edmondson, J., dissenting), the Court reversed the denial of habeas relief to a Florida inmate sentenced to death for a 1998 murder.
The Court found that the Florida Supreme Court had unreasonably discounted the mitigation evidence that Evans’ trial counsel failed to present at his sentencing hearing. The evidence would have established Evans’ brain damage dating from an accident he had as a child. The Court pointed out that in Porter v. McCollum, the Supreme Court held that unpresented mitigating evidence must be considered by a reviewing court from the point of the view of the jury that never heard the evidence. The Florida Supreme Court failed to consider the possibility that competent counsel could have used the brain damage evidence in mitigation.