« Child molester/gymnastics coach Larry Nassar gets (only?!?) 40 to 175 years as state prison sentence for mass molestation | Main | Notable new initiative, Safe Streets & Second Chances, taking "evidence-driven approach to the chronic issues of recidivism" »

January 24, 2018

"Who Killed Habeas Corpus?"

The title of this post is the title of this short paper authored by US District Judge Lynn Adelman recently made available to SSRN that a helpful reader made sure I did forget to post. Here is the abstract:

This article discusses the recent history of the writ of habeas corpus, once known as the Great Writ of Liberty, and concludes that the end result has been tragic.  Because of unwise decisions made by all three branches of government, Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court, the writ has largely been destroyed as an effective remedy for individuals who are imprisoned as a result of a violation of their federal constitutional rights by a state court.  The article notes that under Chief Justices Burger and Rehnquist the Supreme Court established a number of restrictions on the right of state prisoners to obtain federal habeas review.

Then, in 1996, a Republican Congress passed an extremely repressive bill entitled the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”) that imposed additional restrictions on the Great Writ.  Particularly objectionable are provisions requiring federal courts to defer to erroneous but reasonable state court interpretations of the Constitution and barring federal courts from relying on any authority other than clearly established Supreme Court precedent. Sadly, over the objections of habeas scholars, civil libertarians, and his own counsel, President Clinton signed the bill into law.

Since then, the Supreme Court has consistently interpreted the law so as to make it even more harmful to prisoners seeking to overturn unconstitutionally obtained state convictions.  The article contends that the loss of habeas corpus is profound because the writ is urgently needed.  This is so because, as state judicial elections have become increasingly contested, increasingly partisan, and increasingly well-financed, it is increasingly difficult for state court judges, who unlike federal judges do not have life tenure, to protect criminal defendants’ constitutional rights. As a result, too many people spend too many years in prison as a result of convictions involving violations of their constitutional rights.

January 24, 2018 at 05:26 PM | Permalink


At the start of the Civil War, filthy lawyer traitors on the bench, in Maryland, granted these writs to Confederate spies. These spies then escaped. The Army entered their courts, pistol whipped this lawyer judge traitor filth, arrested them, and threw them into Civil War era penitentiaries.

Roger Taney, filthy lawyer traitor, ruled at the Supreme Court, only Congress could suspend that right. Lincoln issued a warrant for the arrest of the filthy lawyer traitor, Taney. As a federal marshal reached to take it, a filthy lawyer traitor persuaded Lincoln to take it back. As a result, instead of being hanged, Taney died slowly and painfully over the next year, in 1864.

A model to consider. Adelman is a Columbia Law School radicalized, pro-criminal traitor to our country.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 24, 2018 7:18:00 PM

Or, on the other hand; the promise of the Great Writ is what allows people like you to spew safely in anonymity.

Posted by: Mark M. | Jan 25, 2018 1:30:18 AM

Mark. Some misunderstanding. I love the lawyer profession, and want to make it better.

Neither of us is anonymous.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 25, 2018 10:38:16 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB