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May 16, 2005

Someone should start an AEDPA blog

After a year of blogging, I know I cannot keep up with all of the dyanmic sentencing stories that are always developing in state and federal systems.  I also know that, one way or another, most of these stories end up in federal habeas corpus litigation; the broad field of sentencing is, both directly and indirectly, profoundly impacted by the law and policy of federal habeas corpus review.  Consequently, true sentencing gurus probably also need to be true habeas gurus.

But, especially given all the complicated intricacies of the AEDPA (the now decade-old modern federal habeas statute), I know I will never be a true habeas guru.  Proof of that fact comes from recent federal circuit opinions, which address a range of AEDPA habeas issues, that I will never find the time to read closely.  The case that has me AEDPA-addled today is the Third Circuit's 50+ pages of en banc discussion of AEDPA time-limits in US v. Bendolph, No. 01-2468 (3d Cir. May 16, 2005) (available here).  Also, I see posts from other bloggers discussing other notable sentencing cases with AEDPA issues: Tom Freeland at Appellate Law & Practice has this post about a 5th Circuit case involving sex offender registration; Mike at Crime & Federalism has this post about an 8th Circuit death penalty case; and Jonathan Soglin has more here on the Ninth Circuit's case questioning AEDPA's constitutionality.

In short, I think I and many other would benefit greatly from effective blogsphere coverage of AEDPA issues.  Perhaps such a blog already exists, in which case this post can become a long plug; if one doesn't, this post can perhaps serve as encouragement for its development.

May 16, 2005 at 01:59 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Actually, I don't think even very many of the state cases end up in fed habeas. Either the AEDPA deadlines are blown, or the sentences are too short to make it past state post-conviction relief, if available, and into fed court before the prisoner is no longer in custody. And possibly for a host of other reasons, including procedural defaults recognized by lawyers taking up the cudgel even if the AEDPA hasn't killed off the opportunity.

Although I do not have any statistics, I think it is really only the death penalty and maybe LWOP cases that routinely find their way eventually from state to federal court. There is always money, I think, for the lawyers in those cases, although I could be wrong about that.

Posted by: Michael Ausbrook | May 16, 2005 4:21:53 PM

I am a federal habeas corpus practitioner. I represent Petitioners/Applicants. I agree that a AEDPA Blog would be nice. I do not believe that the subject is so esoteric that interest would be lakcing. However, I think that it will be difficult to get someone to start an AEDPA blog. The reason is that many AEDPA practitioners are paranoid that State government lawyers might somehow gain an adavantage if they could get an handle on what it is that habeas corpus lawyers are doing/thinking. I personally think that the paranoia is out of control and that we should have a dialogue as to how to ameliorate procedural default by massaging the AEDPA discretion box. In my experience secrecy favors the government not the petitioner. For instance, I for one would like to know whether other practitioners agree that the recent Supreme Court decision in Banks v. Dretke, 124 S.Ct. 1256 (2004) has some relevance in determining the 2254(e)(2) diligence standard outside the context of Brady claims.

Posted by: Keith Yeazel | May 16, 2005 9:17:02 PM

I am in agreement that an AEDPA blog would be most interesting. I am both an appeal and post-conviction practioner dealing in several states but with the biggest concentration directed at federal practice. Much of the respondents quest for dismissals in habeas matters has recently been centered around the restraintes set forth in the ADEPA. Concurrent to this is the basic lack of understanding that most habeas respondents seem to harness when thrusting their contentions based upon these provisions rather then dealing with the issue[s] which are the mandate in the Show Cause Order itstelf. The AEDPA is a separate matter vesting or divesting jurisdiction that enables the district court to either dismiss or issue the show cause order. Much time is wasted by practitioners in attempting to educate respondents as to the provisions of the AEDPA rather than actual adjudication of the facts and issues plead. Therefore, it seems that such a blog would lend assistance to the void present in habeas practice.

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