PORTER v. MCCOLLUM

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
08-10537
Petitioner 
George Porter
Respondent 
Bill McCollum, Attorney General of Florida, et al.
Term:
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.

Conclusion 

Yes. In a per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court reversed the Eleventh Circuit, holding that Mr. Porter's Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel was violated. The Court reasoned that there was a reasonable probability that Mr. Porter's sentence would have been different if the sentencing judge and jury had heard the mitigating evidence that Mr. Porter's attorney failed to uncover or present.

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PORTER v. MCCOLLUM . The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 June 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2009/2009_08_10537>.
PORTER v. MCCOLLUM , The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2009/2009_08_10537 (last visited June 20, 2014).
"PORTER v. MCCOLLUM ," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed June 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2009/2009_08_10537.