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Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Columbia Law School

1994

Criminal Procedure

Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Law

Brecht V. Abrahamson: Harmful Error In Habeas Corpus Law, James S. Liebman, Randy Hertz Jan 1994

Brecht V. Abrahamson: Harmful Error In Habeas Corpus Law, James S. Liebman, Randy Hertz

Faculty Scholarship

For the past two and one-half decades, the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts have applied the same rule for assessing the harmlessness of constitutional error in habeas corpus proceedings as they have applied on direct appeal of both state and federal convictions. Under that rule, which applied to all constitutional errors except those deemed per se prejudicial or per se reversible, the state could avoid reversal upon a finding of error only by proving that the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. The Supreme Court adopted this stringent standard in Chapman v. California to fulfill the federal ...