In Perkins v. United States, No. 20-14781 (July 10, 2023) (Branch, Grant, Schlesinger), the Court affirmed the denial of a 2255 motion.
First, the Court affirmed the denial of a substantive competency/due process claim. The district court did not clearly err in finding that the movant was competent at the time of sentencing and in rejecting the contrary determination by the movant’s expert. The district court properly relied on jailhouse calls showing his knowledge of the proceedings. And the movant’s expert evaluated him six years after sentencing, and her testimony conflicted with other expert testimony.
Second, the Court affirmed the denial of an ineffective assistance of counsel claim based on counsel’s failure to investigate his mental health. The Court determined that counsel’s performance was not deficient because he took action after first learning about the movant’s mental health issues. In any event, any deficient performance was not prejudicial because there was no evidence that he would have been deemed incompetent at the time of sentencing had he been evaluated around that time.