Daniel v. Commissioner, AL DOC, No. 14-12558 (11th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Petitioner, an Alabama death row inmate, challenged the denial of his 28 U.S.C. 2254 petition for habeas relief. The district court granted petitioner a certificate of appealability (COA) on whether trial counsel was ineffective during petitioner's trial at both the penalty and guilt phase. The court concluded that petitioner's second amended Rule 32 petition pleaded more than sufficient specific facts about trial counsel’s acts and omissions to show their penalty phase investigation “fell below an objective standard of reasonableness.” Here, trial counsel’s failure to conduct any timely and meaningful mitigation interviews with petitioner and his family was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances of this case.The court vacated the district court's order denying petitioner's penalty phase ineffective assistance of counsel claim and its order denying discovery and an evidentiary hearing on this claim; the court affirmed the district court's denial of habeas relief on petitioner's guilt phase ineffective assistance of counsel claim; and remanded.