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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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: Habeas and the Death Penalty

: Habeas and the Death Penalty

(p.122) Chapter Seven: Habeas and the Death Penalty
Habeas for the Twenty-First Century
University of Chicago Press

This chapter investigates the habeas review of federal death sentences, specifically exploring how habeas litigation in capital cases became what it is today. The Supreme Court has increasingly employed the Eighth Amendment to enforce substantive restrictions on the use of capital punishment. It seemed that the Court aimed at developing two separate strands of Eighth Amendment proportionality doctrine: one for capital cases and another for noncapital cases. The story of habeas corpus and the story of the death penalty in the modern era of the Supreme Court's Eighth Amendment jurisprudence have been inextricably interlaced. The legal battle over capital punishment has been fought primarily on the battleground of habeas. In noncapital cases, habeas litigation was merely a wasteful nuisance. However, in capital cases, habeas continued to be center stage in a prolonged and bitter struggle that shows no signs of ending any time soon.

Keywords:   habeas review, federal death sentences, habeas litigation, capital cases, noncapital cases, Supreme Court, Eighth Amendment, habeas corpus, death penalty

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