Is Trial Lawyer's Assistance Ineffective Due to Failure to Present Corroboratory Evidence ?

In Cole v. State, 841 So. 2d 409 (Fla. 2003) the defendant argued that defense counsel was ineffective for failing to call certain witnesses to corroborate his drug abuse problems. Id. at 414 n. 3. The circuit court rejected the claim without an evidentiary hearing because, in its opinion, defense counsel had introduced sufficient evidence of Cole's drug use so that "any additional evidence of drug and alcohol use would have been cumulative of that actually presented." Id. at 425. Cole's trial attorneys, like Whitfield's, had produced evidence of Cole's drug abuse through lay witnesses and an expert witness. The court affirmed: We find no error in the trial court's conclusion that Cole was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing to present what the trial court found would have been cumulative evidence. See Valle v. State, 705 So. 2d 1331, 1334-35 (Fla. 1997) (affirming trial court's summary denial of ineffective assistance claim based on allegation that trial counsel failed to present cumulative evidence). Id.