Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kilgore: Hall IQ holding does not apply retroactively

In Kilgore v. Sec., Fla. Dep’t of Corr., No. 13-11825 (Nov. 16, 2015), the Court affirmed the denial of habeas relief to a Florida death-row inmate who claimed that he was intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for the death penalty for his 1989 murder. In Atkins v. Virginia (2002), the Supreme Court held that the execution of the intellectually disabled violates the Eighth Amendment. In Hall v. Florida (2014), the Supreme Court held that an individual with an IQ test score between 70 and 75 or lower may present additional evidence of difficulties in adaptive functioning. Kilgore had IQ socres of 74, 75 and 76. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed his execution because the Florida IQ cutoff, pre-Hall, was 70. Kilgore claimed that he should have gotten the benefit of Hall, retroactively. The Court rejected this argument, finding that it squarely held in In re Henry that Hall merely created new procedures for ensuring that states follow the rule enunciated in Atkins. The Court rejected the argument that the actual holding of In re Henry was limited to its finding that Henry’s IQ was 78, which put Henry outside the protection of Hall. This was an alternative holding, and both alternative holdings are binding precedent.