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2007

Jurisdiction

Habeas corpus

Michigan Law Review

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Mostly Harmless: An Analysis Of Post-Aedpa Federal Habeas Corpus Review Of State Harmless Error Determinations, Jeffrey S. Jacobi Feb 2007

Mostly Harmless: An Analysis Of Post-Aedpa Federal Habeas Corpus Review Of State Harmless Error Determinations, Jeffrey S. Jacobi

Michigan Law Review

Sixty years ago, in Kotteakos v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that a small class of so-called harmless errors committed by courts did not require correction. The Court acknowledged that some judicial errors, though recognizable as errors, did not threaten the validity of criminal convictions and therefore did not quite require reversal. Specifically, the Court held that errors that violated federal statutes should be deemed harmless unless they had a "substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the jury's verdict." While Kotteakos represented the Supreme Court's first treatment of the concept of harmlessness, other courts had a …