U.S. Eleventh Circuit - The FindLaw 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

July 2013 Archives

Juror Missed Trial, Then Deliberated. Maybe. Meh. She's Guilty.

Once upon a time, there was a juror in an attempted robbery trial. The defendant, Anna Castillo, allegedly accosted a handful of people with a pistol, tried to rob them, and somehow failed. She robbed a couple others as well, but that case was handled separately.

The juror, for an unknown personal reason, missed the second day of the three-day trial. The highlights of that day included additional prosecutorial evidence.

Children, what happened next is the real question. In post-conviction state court proceedings, the State of Florida's floundering attorneys convinced the courts that the juror did not miss that second day and did participate in deliberations leading to a guilty verdict. However, in the federal habeas case, a different group of attorneys, also representing Florida, conceded that the juror did miss that day, but now, they claim that she didn't take part in the deliberations.

Warren Lee Hill Challenges Execution Drugs, Death Set for Friday

There are three things we can be pretty sure of. First, Warren Lee Hill is guilty. He murdered his 18-year-old girlfriend, was convicted, and then beat his cellmate to death with the leg of the sink. He also should be ineligible for execution, as he meets the legal standard of mentally retarded per all seven experts that have evaluated him. Finally, the State of Georgia will find a way to execute him, with or without a ruling in their favor later this week.

Hill was granted a temporary reprieve from his prior-scheduled execution on Tuesday when a local judge decided to take a second look at Georgia's lethal injection drugs and the related state-secrets law. Georgia, like many other states, has had difficulty locating the necessary drugs for lethal injection, as the European-based manufacturers refuse to sell them for that purpose, according to the Businessweek.

Warren Lee Hill: Execution Set for Monday Unless SCOTUS Stays

Absent a last-second stay by the United States Supreme Court, Warren Lee Hill, a mentally retarded inmate who killed his girlfriend, and later, beat a fellow prisoner to death, will be executed. The Eleventh Circuit declined to review a motion to delay the execution once more, after they previously granted a stay, then denied his habeas corpus petition under the auspices of AEDPA procedural requirements.

Hill’s situation might be the first of its kind. While he belongs to one of the three protected groups that the Supreme Court has previously decided could not be executed per the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment (juveniles, mentally insane, and mentally retarded), he could not prove mental retardation at the time of his trial beyond a reasonable doubt. Only Georgia requires such a high burden of proof.

Man With Dementia Beaten Severely, Still Not Enough for 1983 Claim

The Eleventh Circuit agreed with the court in a case that ruled against a 67-year-old man sufferning from dementia, granting the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The issue in the case was whether or not the defendant’s were subjectively aware of a substantial risk of serious harm to the plaintiff, which the district court found that they were not. Plaintiff’s complaint had failed to allege that the Sheriff Department custom or policy was actually the cause of plaintiff’s injuries.

Bruce Goodman, who suffered from a stroke and began showing signs of dementia, was arrested when he tried to enter a house that wasn’t his. He was also arrested nine months later after being confused on a night walk and entered a trailer, again not his.