Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Melton: Youthful death penalty issues not "debatable"

In Melton v. Sec., Fla. Dep’t of Corrections, No. 13-12967 (March 3, 2015) (2-1) (Martin, J., dissenting), the Court denied a motion for a certificate of appealability, finding the issues not “debatable.” Melton claimed that his prior conviction for a murder committed when he was under 18 years of age should not have been used as an aggravating factor for imposition of the death penalty. The Court noted that no Supreme Court precedent suggested that this might be the law, and the Florida Supreme Court’s rejection of this argument therefore did not violate “clearly established Federal law.” The Court also found no debatable issue in the claim that, even though Melton was over the age of 18 when he committed his capital offense, some of the factors of youth were still present, and should have been considered as mitigating factors.