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October 4, 2008

"Rethinking the Federal Role in State Criminal Justice"

The title of this post is the title of this great-looking article from Professors Joe Hoffmann and Nancy King now available on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This Essay argues that federal habeas review of state criminal cases squanders resources the federal government should be using to help states reform their systems of defense representation.  A 2007 empirical study reveals that federal habeas review is inaccessible to most state prisoners convicted of non-capital crimes, and offers no realistic hope of relief for those who reach federal court. As a means of correcting or deterring constitutional error in non-capital cases, habeas is failing and cannot be fixed.  Drawing upon these findings as well as the Supreme Court's most recent decision applying the Suspension Clause, the authors propose that Congress eliminate federal habeas review of state criminal judgments, except for cases including certain claims of actual innocence, retroactively applicable rules, or the sentence of death.  The federal government should leave the review of all other state criminal judgments to the state courts and invest, instead, in a new federal initiative to encourage improved state defense services, an approach that can deter and correct constitutional error more effectively than any amount of habeas litigation ever could.

October 4, 2008 at 04:44 PM | Permalink


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This is a very disturbing statement. In Illinois the courts are corrupt from stem to stern all the way up to the IL Supreme Court. Without the grand writ those of us wrongfully convicted by the corrupt politicians, judges, and prosecutors have no hope for justice and vindication. What happened to constitutional rights? In IL statutes have raped the right to habeas review. 90 % of what is permitted to be reviewed under habeas corpus review at the federal level is explicitely removed from habeas review under IL Statutes. See 735 ILCS 5/10. I believe the doctrine that we must exhaust state remedies must be revisited in view of the extent of corruption and injustice. As a result of corruption we live presently in a police state with a system of injustice NOT justice.

Posted by: Dr Linda Shelton | Oct 5, 2008 9:33:08 PM

A bad idea for Texas. Even as "conservative" as the Fifth Circuit is, they still are regularly bench-slapping our Court of Criminal Appeals, which never saw a "harmless error" it didn't like.

Posted by: | Oct 6, 2008 12:21:52 AM

I agree the court system is no longer a system of justice and the entire rule of innocent until proven guilty has flipped so that it should read Illinois Injustice System fighting to Limit, restrict, or otherwise strip Fathers of any rights, and one is guilty until one proves that he or she is innocent, at the cost of the accused, with or without just cause, with or without proof or justification, the accused has no leg to stand on in this state. I am in the middle of a situation where I was assaulted by my fiance the police were called and responded, they found me to be the victim and her the suspect. she then goes to another county two days later and recieves an order of protection even though she was the assualter and I was the assaulted. The judge there in my opinion and several others opinion, is very biased for the protection of the assaulter just because she is female. In this state the same judge is allowed to oversee child custody and visitation in the same case. Illinois law gives him the right to determine and rule based solely on his discretionary opinion with and or without proof, evidence, testimony, or probable cause. This judge is allowed to strip a father of his rights to see and be with his or her children solely because in his personal opinion (without physical proof of any type)that one or the other person is dangerous to said child and suspend all visitation rights, the judge is also allowed to disregard the testimony of several very credible witnesses and the testimony of the petitioner (herself) that indeed I am a great dad and that at no point ever have I been accused of any type of physical or emotional abuse to any child let alone my own children. I got into trouble over 15 years ago and have not even had one brush with law enforcement of any type since. I thought that there would surely be a law that would protect my rights as a father and as the victim of physical abuse at the hand of my now ex fiance she attacked me and the police agreed, to stop wrongful alligations from the one that attacked me. I am not the most educated person in the state nor am I uneducated by any means. I haven't the money or resources to hire a good lawyer to defend myself against the court system. When will it be enough to put a stop to the gross injustice(s) served at the hands of power holding judges in small towns where injustice(s) go largely unseen and or unchallenged because of the lack of funds to hire a high charging attorney to protect and fight for the rights of the father(s) that are robbed of any and all rights just because. Does anyone know of any law(s) that will protect my rights as a father and dad to my children? Does anyone know how to reverse a judges ruling or rule against a father that is unfounded and unproven and handed down because of the bias of the judge? How and is it possible to change the venue to make it a fair and just ruling by the Illinois court system? when is it going to be enough. Can anyone help in any way to protect my rights in this state if there are any fathers rights here? Please if you can answer any or all of my questions email me if you would

Posted by: Doug Scott | Mar 1, 2009 9:43:18 AM

Just a concerned father being robbed of any rights and my child

Posted by: Doug Scott | Mar 1, 2009 9:44:47 AM

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