Lawyer's Failure to Present Defendant's History of Substance Abuse
In Owen v. State, 986 So. 2d 534 (Fla. 2008), the Supreme Court of Florida determined that because there were substantial aggravating and mitigating circumstances, postconviction expert testimony that Owen's substance abuse "would certainly exacerbate" the impulse-control problems caused by his neuropsychological impairment did not provide a basis for establishing prejudice. Owen v. State, 986 So. 2d at 552.
The Court emphasized:
Given the deliberate manner in which Owen twice entered the home in which the victim was babysitting before attacking her, it seems unlikely that the expert's testimony about how Owen's substance abuse would have exacerbated his impulsivity would change the trial judge or jury's evaluation of Owen's mitigation. Id. at 553.
The Supreme Court of Florida ultimately held that confidence in the death sentence was not undermined by counsel's failure to present Owen's history of substance abuse.
Similarly, albeit pertaining to guilt-phase evidence, in Foster v. State, this Court held that Foster had failed to prove that he was prejudiced by counsel's failure to present an involuntary intoxication defense.
The Court held that "there was . . . substantial evidence presented to the jury which invalidated this defense, including the fact that Foster had a clear recollection of the details of the offense and that the offense involved deliberate behavior." 929 So. 2d at 531.