Justia U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Construction Law
Pietri v. Florida Dept. of Corrections
Petitioner appealed the district court's order denying him habeas relief where a jury convicted him of first degree murder of a police officer and the trial court imposed a death sentence. At issue was whether the district court erred in denying petitioner relief on his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel at the guilt phase; denied petitioner relief on his claim that counsel failed to investigate and present more detailed mitigation evidence at the penalty phase; and determined that petitioner's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel of appellate counsel for failure to challenge the trial court's impartiality was barred from federal review. The court affirmed the judgment and held that the district court did not err in denying petitioner habeas relief on his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel at the guilt phase where counsel did not proffer a defense counsel could not support and where, even if petitioner could show that counsel were ineffective for failing to proffer a voluntary intoxication defense, petitioner could not demonstrate that counsel's deficient performance prejudiced him. The court also held that counsel did not fail to investigate and present more detailed mitigation evidence at the penalty phase where counsel made numerous attempts to secure a mental health expert and strategically decided not to present some of the mental health experts counsel consulted and where the penalty-phase jury was presented with identical evidence of the effects of long-term or continuous drug use that petitioner presented at the collateral hearing. The court further held that, because petitioner never raised his claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, the district court properly dismissed it.