Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Henry: Hall v. Florida is not retroactive

In In re; John Ruthell Henry, No. 14-12623 (June 17, 2014) (2-1) (Martin, J., dissenting), the Court denied the application of a Florida inmate, sentenced to death on account of a 1985 murder, for a second or successive federal habeas petition, because the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Hall v. Florida, which held that a State could not set an IQ of 70 as a hard cut-off for purposes of determining death penalty eligibility, announced a new rule of constitutional law which was not retroactively applicable. The Court pointed out that the Supreme Court in Hall made no mention of retroactivity, and held that Hall does not place a class of individuals beyond the state’s power to execute, but “merely provides new procedures for ensuring that States do not execute members of an already protected group.” The Court also pointed out that Henry’s application lacked merit, because he could not point to any IQ test yielding a score of 75 or below.