Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, June 27, 2014

Lambrix: Not error to decline to appoint habeas counsel for futile claim

In Lambrix v. Sec., Fla. Dep’t of Corrections, No. 13-11917 (June 26, 2014), the Court affirmed the denial of appointment of counsel to a Florida death row inmate whose prior habeas petitions had been denied, and rejected his argument that his latest petition was not futile under Martinez v. Ryan. The Court noted that Martinez held that there was no procedural default when there was cause for a habeas petitioner’s prior failure to raise an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Lambrix, however, did not fail to previously raise an ineffective assistance of counsel claim – he did so, unsuccessfully. For this (and other reasons) his current claim was futile, and the district court did not err in declining to appoint counsel to pursue a futile claim.