Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, March 21, 2014

Jones: No Prejudice in failure to put on mitigating evidence

In Jones v. GDCP Warden, No. 11-14774 (March 20, 2014), the Court affirmed the denial of habeas relief to a Georgia inmate sentenced to death for a 1979 murder, findingthat Jones could not satisfy the “prejudice” prong of his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Jones claimed that his counsel was ineffective for failing to introduce at the penalty phase evidence of his childhood and mental health. The Court pointed out that had counsel gone down this route, the State could have introduced strong aggravating evidence, including Jones’ “damning record from prison and the military.” The Court found the state habeas court’s rejection of the opinions of Jones’ experts to be reasonable, given their lack of reliability.