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Habeas for the Twenty-First CenturyUses, Abuses, and the Future of the Great Writ$
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Nancy J. King and Joseph L. Hoffmann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226436975

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226436968.001.0001

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: The Costly Charade: Habeas and State Prisoners Today

: The Costly Charade: Habeas and State Prisoners Today

(p.67) Chapter Four: The Costly Charade: Habeas and State Prisoners Today
Habeas for the Twenty-First Century
University of Chicago Press

This chapter, which discusses the results of Professor Nancy King's recent empirical study of habeas filings in the federal district courts, presents the most complete picture of habeas litigation in federal district courts since the 1996 amendments to the habeas statute. It is shown that habeas review cannot serve as an effective means of correcting or deterring error in individual state criminal cases. The unavailability of habeas effectively ensured that it does not, and cannot, provide any meaningful correction of error or deterrence of constitutional misconduct by state officials in the vast majority of state criminal cases. Federal habeas corpus review of state noncapital criminal cases once helped to transform the institutional structure of judicial review of constitutional claims; today it is an almost completely wasted effort. In the 1960s and 1970s, expansive habeas review of state criminal cases was needed to help obtain the writ's traditional goals.

Keywords:   habeas filings, federal district courts, habeas litigation, habeas statute, habeas corpus review, state criminal cases, Professor Nancy King

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