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Habeas Corpus Analysis


a) HC/2254(d) Standard An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States b) HC/2254(d) Elements i) Contrary to State court applied the wrong legal rule. Theres a materially indistinguishable S.Ct case and the state court does something inapposite. A) Ineffective Assistance Not contrary to if state court applied Strickland. ii) Unreasonable Application of Objectively unreasonable. State court identifies the correct legal rule, but applied that correct rule unreasonably. State courts are allowed to be reasonably wrong A) Ineffective Assistance Most common HC petition. 2-prong test for this element: 1) Deficient Performance Below objective level of reasonableness 2) Deficient Performance Prejudiced Defendants Case Reasonable probability that, but for counsels error, a different result would occur (look at all evidence against defendant). If there are strong arguments on both sides here, then state court decision probably reasonable B) Terry Williams After Terry Williams was convicted of robbery and capital murder; his punishment was fixed at death. In state HC proceedings, state supreme court determined that his conviction was valid, even though counsel assistance was ineffective (counsel failed to bring facts regarding Ds childhood, mental capacity, lack of education, prison behavior, or favorable testimony from prison officials to sentencing hearing). S.Ct. held that D had been deprived of the constl right to effective assistance of counsel. The state supreme courts refusal to set aside the death sentence was contrary to or involved an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law. -> Not enough that state court was simply wrong! 1) Impact of Terry Williams Situation in this case, in which a state court was found simply to have misunderstood the meaning of a S.Ct. precedent, is unusual. More often, a state courts decision will properly recite the applicable doctrine and the prisoners complaint will be about the doctrines application to the facts. C) Lockyer Reasonable interpretation of a S.Ct. principle in the face of two extreme standards. 3 strikes law violated CAUP for mere theft of a handful of videotapes. Career criminal sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for

only stealing video tapes; however, convicted of enough crimes to get 3 rd strike. Case fell between two S.Ct. precedents: (a) Invalidated life sentenced w/o parole; and (b) Validated life sentence w/ possibility of parole. State courts interpretation of gross disproportionality principle not unreasonable. D) Yarborough Leeway granted when applying general standards. State courts found no error in admitting a confession on the basis that it was not in custody on Miranda terms. S.Ct. ruled that applying a general standard to a specific case involves subjectivity. The more general the rule, the more leeway granted. iii) Clearly Established Fed Law HC claim is not eliminated from review unless one can identify a S.Ct. case that specifically establishes the law governing the claim. A) Codified Teague Rule Dictated by precedent when the conviction is final (meaning direct appeals are over). HC petitioner does not receive the benefit of the recognition of a new rule of constl law after the petitioners conviction became final. B) What is a New Rule? Anything not dictated already by precedent. C) Rule Rationale (a) We need to give state courts a chance to correct themselves; (b) Cannot predict future law/cant be unreasonable if something didnt exist at the time; (c) Anti-Retroactivity provisions; (d) Avoiding flood of HC petitions iv) As Determined by S.Ct. S.Ct. decision in play c) Parity Debate Empirical v. Sociological; Are state courts as competent as fed courts? Are state courts as likely to uphold fed rights or any right in particular? Widely believed that fed judges are of a higher quality than state judges. Three traits that distinguish fed judges: (1) Fed judgeships are generally more prestigious, which tends to attract more technically competent lawyers; (2) Less insulated from majoritarian pressure (life tenure); (3) Participation in a proud tradition of protecting constl rights i) Republican Party of MN Prohibiting candidates for judicial office from announcing their political views on current issues violates the 1 st Amend. This was the beginning of politicized state judge elections/special interest groups making their own questionnaires to judges. ii) Parity as a Constitutional Concept Is the Constitution indifferent as to where adjudication occurs? Madisonian compromise = since congress need not create any fed courts, state courts must enjoy parity. Does AIII compel jx in inferior fed courts? Does this obligation extend to all 9 fed power categories? iii) Parity as Legislative Policy Congress can simply consider fed courts to be better than state courts when allocating jx.

a) General Rule If prisoner failed to raise claim in state court in accordance w/ state procedures, HC claim is barred/procedurally defaulted; i.e., does not get HC review per 2254 claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state court proceedings ( Daniels). b) HC Procedural Hurdles/Requirements Plaintiff must pass these before HC suit is heard i) Exhaustion Plaintiff must use up all available state remedies/routes. If P doesnt raise a claim, procedural due process shuts it out. However, P may get out of jail before the appeal is over. Exhaustion can moot any HC petition! ii) In Custody P must be careful not to moot own case by getting out of custody (on behalf of a person in custody). Cannot apply for HC writ if P is out of jail/done with parole! iii) Time Limit P has one year to assert HC petition. Tolling happens during state HC proceedings. iv) Successive Petitions Fed court should dismiss claims in successive petitions unless petitioner satisfied the cause/prejudice standard, justifying failure to raise the claims earlier on fed HC c) HC Procedural Exceptions Procedural default excused in two circumstances: i) Cause/Prejudice (a) [Cause] Petitioner had cause for not complying w/ state procedures (something external to prisoner, i.e. interference by state officials (Brady violation); ineffective assistance (at trial/first appeal as of right); abandonment by counsel); (b) [Prejudice] Reasonable probability that result of proceeding different, absent constl violations (focus on proceeding where constl violation occurred) (Wainwright v. Sykes) ii) Gateway Claim Extraordinary case where constl violation probably resulted in conviction of person who was actually innocent. A) Actual Innocence Test: More likely than not that no reasonable juror would have convicted (very high standard) B) House v. Bell Test satisfied b/c petitioner found new DNA evidence that contradicted evidence at trial and helped support he inference that another suspect committed the crime. Court did not require that the new evidence conclusively exonerate the prisoner, only that it tip the balance of conflicting evidence toward making it more likely than not that no reasonable juror viewing the record as a whole would lack reasonable doubt. c) Application of Teague (Non-Retroactivity Provisions) on State Courts i) Broader Retroactivity Standards When determining whether S.Ct. decisions on constl rules of criminal procedure apply retroactively, state courts are free to give whatever effect they want to S.Ct. decisions in deciding state HC actions. S.Ct. precedent applies only to fed HC petitions and has no bearing on state HC proceedings.

A) Danforth After Danforths conviction became final (exhausted appeals), S.Ct. decided Crawford which reshaped rights to confront hearsay evidence. Danforth files HC petition based on Crawford. MN SC held that it could not give retroactive effect to new constl ruling. New rule = not a clearly established fed law.


a) s.1983 i) What Can You Sue For? (1) Violation of constl rights; (2) Claims arising under laws of US (Gonzaga) ii) Remedies Available Monetary DMGs, injunctions iii) Exhaustion s.1983 does not require exhaustion of state remedies (plaintiff does not even need to go to state court at all), unless plaintiff is using s.1983 as an end run around HC A) Wolff Inmates could use s.1983 to obtain a declaration (as a predicate to their requested DMGs award) that the disciplinary procedures were invalid. They could also seek by way of ancillary relief, an otherwise proper injunction enjoining the prospective enforcement of invalid prison regulations. The key is not challenging the wrong result, but the wrong procedures. iv) Decision De novo decision, simply b/c no exhaustion reqruiement b) HC/s.2254 i) What Can You Sue For? (1) Violations of constl rights regarding imprisonment; (2) Clearly established fed laws ii) Remedies Available (a) Release; (b) New trial; (c) Reduced sentence (time or severity) iii) Exhaustion HC requires exhaustion of state remedies iv) Decision Not a de novo review; fed courts must defer to state court decision unless contrary to or unreasonable application of clearly established S.Ct. precedent c) Using 1983 as End Run around HC In order to recover for DMGs for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, a s.1983 plaintiff must prove the conviction/sentence has been reversed: (a) on direct appeal; (b) expunged by exec order; or (c) called into question by a fed HC petition (s.2254). i) Legal Test If judgment in favor of prisoner would necessarily imply invalidity of conviction or sentence, prisoner must use HC (cannot use s.1983). This includes cases where prisoner seeks immediate or speedier release ( Preiser). A) Heck v. Humphrey A state prisoner may not bring a s.1983 action challenging the fact or duration of his confinement w/out first exhausting confinement challenges under HC. Heck was imprisoned for crimes against

his wife. While in prison, Heck filed pro se suit against Humphrey (DMGs, not injunctive relief/release from custody). First HC petition denied because state remedies were not exhausted; Second just denied. B) Preiser Fed HC challenges are the exclusive remedy for state prisoner challenging the fact or duration of their confinement. However, this is only if prisoner is challenging speed or validity of confinement. Here, prisoner sought DMGs, which can be brought under s.1983 w/out first exhausting state remedies.