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Vanderbilt University Law School

2009

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Rethinking The Federal Role In State Criminal Justice, Nancy J. King, Joseph L. Hoffmann Jan 2009

Rethinking The Federal Role In State Criminal Justice, Nancy J. King, Joseph L. Hoffmann

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

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 ...