Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Anderson: Counsel not ineffective in investigating mitigating evidence

In Anderson v. Sec., Fla. Dep’t of Corrections, No 11-13921 (May 12, 2014), the Court affirmed the denial of a writ of habeas corpus to a Florida inmate sentenced to death for a 1999 murder. The Court rejected Anderson’s claim that his trial lawyer failed to conduct a reasonable investigation of mitigation evidence. The Court rejected the argument that trial counsel failed to investigate evidence of Anderson’s suffering sexual abuse as a child, pointing out that previously Anderson actively denied that such abuse had ever occurred. The Court found that Anderson’s counsel had conducted an extensive investigation in preparation for the guilt and penalty phase of the trial. The Court also found that Anderson had not established that the evidence of sexual abuse, had it been presented to the jury, would have prompted the jury to recommend a life sentence instead of death.