Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Cole: Habeas petition untimely

In Cole v. Warden, Georgia State Prison, No. 13-12635 (Oct. 6, 2014), the Court held that a habeas petition was correctly dismissed for being untimely. Cole claimed that a habeas petition filed more than fifteen years after the limitations period had expired should be deemed timely, because he only discovered a violation at his guilty plea at this time. The Court noted that the written plea form Cole signed referred to the constitutional rights that Cole claimed were not mentioned at his plea colloquy. Cole failed to establish due diligence in discovering the violation. The Court also rejected Cole’s equitable tolling argument, again finding he failed to exercise reasonable diligence.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Winthrop-Redin: Allegations of death threats to plead guilty "incredible"

In Winthrop-Redin v. U.S., No. 13-10107 (Sept. 23, 2014), the Court affirmed the denial of 2255 relief to a defendant who pled guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to distribute, rejecting the claim that the defendant was coerced to plead guilty by death threats from other members of the crew of ths ship on which the cocaine was seized. The Court found that the claim that the plea was involuntary was based only on conclusory and incredible allegations, noting that the defendant at his plea colloquy said that he was not pressured, and waited more than two years after he pled guilty to say anything about alleged threats. Further, the defendant did not specifically allege that he told his attorney about the death threats.

Reed: Failure to investigate "incredible" witness not deficient

In Reed v. Sec., Fla. Dep’t of Corrections, No. 13-10900 (Sept. 24, 2014), the Court reversed a grant of habeas relief to a Florida inmate who claimed counsel was deficient in failing to investigate and call a witness at trial. The Court noted that the witness was unavailable around the time of trial. In addition, the witness, who had eight felony convictions, admitted he had memory problems. The State court had reasonable grounds for concluding that the witness was not credible. Further, the witness’ testimony would not have directly exculpated Reed. Finally, there was substantial remaining evidence implicating Reed.