N.D.Fla.: No IAC for failure to challenge stop when there was plenty of PC

Officers had a wealth of probable cause from consensually monitored conversations to stop the vehicle defendant was riding in. Therefore, defense counsel couldn’t be ineffective for not making a meritless motion to suppress for lack of PC. United States v. Popoca, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34138 (N.D. Fla. Jan. 23, 2017),* adopted and COA denied, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34074 (N.D. Fla. Mar. 9, 2017).* On showing prejudice:

Finally, the Eleventh Circuit has recognized that given the principles and presumptions set forth above, “the cases in which habeas petitioners can properly prevail … are few and far between.” Chandler, 218 F.3d at 1313. This is because the test is not what the best lawyers would have done or even what most good lawyers would have done, but rather whether some reasonable lawyer could have acted in the circumstances as defense counsel acted. Dingle, 480 F.3d at 1099; Williamson v. Moore, 221 F.3d 1177, 1180 (11th Cir. 2000). “Even if counsel’s decision appears to have been unwise in retrospect, the decision will be held to have been ineffective assistance only if it was ‘so patently unreasonable that no competent attorney would have chosen it.’” Dingle, 480 F.3d at 1099 (quoting Adams v. Wainwright, 709 F.2d 1443, 1445 (11th Cir. 1983)). The Sixth Circuit has framed the question as not whether counsel was inadequate, but rather whether counsel’s performance was so manifestly ineffective that “defeat was snatched from the hands of probable victory.” United States v. Morrow, 977 F.2d 222, 229 (6th Cir. 1992). Regardless of how the standard is framed, under the prevailing case law it is abundantly clear that a moving defendant has a high hurdle to overcome to establish a violation of his constitutional rights based on his attorney’s performance. A defendant’s belief that a certain course of action that counsel failed to take might have helped his case does not direct a finding that counsel was constitutionally ineffective under the standards set forth above.

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