Porter v. McCollum

PETITIONER: George Porter
RESPONDENT: Bill McCollum, Attorney General of Florida, et al.
LOCATION: Brevard County Circuit Court, Melbourne Branch Courthouse

DOCKET NO.: 08-10537
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2009-2010)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

CITATION: 558 US 30 (2009)
GRANTED: Nov 30, 2009
DECIDED: Nov 30, 2009

Facts of the case

A Florida state court convicted George Porter of murder and sentenced him to death. After exhausting his state court remedies, Mr. Porter filed for habeas corpus relief in a Florida federal district court. He argued that his attorney's failure to bring forward evidence about his war record and how it left him a changed man violated his Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel. The district court agreed and granted the petition. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed on the ground that the Florida Supreme Court's determination that Mr. Porter was not prejudiced by any deficient performance by his counsel was a reasonable application of Strickland v. Washington.

Question

Did the Eleventh Circuit err when it held that a person's Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel was not violated when his attorney at sentencing failed to bring forward evidence of his heroic war record and other mitigating evidence.