Recent Martinez/Trevino-related developments
Posted on: 1/12/2015 03:20:36 PM by Peoples

On December 24, 2014, the Eleventh Circuit issued a COA in Peterka v. Secretary, FL DOC, 14-13081-P on the following:

Is the Petitioner Peterka entitled to assert claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel relying on Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S. Ct. 1309 (2012) and Trevino v. Thaler, 133 S. Ct. 199 (2013) by invoking Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) to argue that the judgment denying his original habeas petition should be reopened as to ground 5 to allow him to establish cause and prejudice for his failure to exhaust his ineffective assistance of counsel claims in state court.

In Quintero v. Carpenter, 2014 WL 7139987 (M.D. Tenn. Dec. 12, 2014), although post-conviction counsel had raised some allegations of ineffective assistance by trial counsel at the sentencing phase, federal habeas counsel alleged additional deficiencies and presented new supporting facts.  Accepting respondent’s argument that the new allegations and facts were procedurally defaulted, the district court assessed whether the defaulted claim was “substantial” under Martinez.  The claim at issue was that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to investigate and present mitigating psychiatric and personal history evidence.  After discussing a neuropsychological report submitted by petitioner, the district court found that the claim had “some factual support, and its proper outcome is sufficiently debatable at this stage to warrant further proceedings.”  Noting that petitioner had already been permitted relevant discovery, the district court granted petitioner’s motion for an evidentiary hearing to demonstrate Martinez cause and to develop the merits of the newly presented portions of the ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim.  

In Crain v. Sec’y, Dept. of Corrections, 2014 WL 6801805 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 1, 2014), the district court denied the motion of federal habeas counsel, the Office of the Capital Collateral Regional Counsel–Middle Region (CCRC-M) to withdraw and appoint conflict counsel.  The district court also denied the petitioner’s pro se motion to substitute counsel.  The motions were based on petitioner’s contention that CCRC-M, which also represented petitioner in state post-conviction proceedings, had failed to raise certain claims on ineffective assistance by trial counsel.  In denying the motions, the district court relied on Eleventh Circuit precedent that finds Martinez irrelevant to the statute of limitations and so concluded any ineffectiveness claims omitted by CCRC-M would now be time-barred.