• Criminal Justice Reform,  Habeas Corpus,  Judges,  Legal Technology

    Appellate judge Alex Kozinski addresses the dangers of unsettled science in the courtroom

    Or, as the headline over Judge Kozinski’s opinion piece in today’s Wall Street Journal calls it, “voodoo science.” And what this justice on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (a federal appellate court) has to say has nothing to do with global warming (at least not directly). Writing on a report to be released by the Obama administration today from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), Judge Kozinski calls for lifting, or at lease easing, restrictions imposed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) on federal court review of state court criminal judgments, because the report finds that many of the scientific methods used to convict…

  • Habeas Corpus,  Writ Practice

    A Habeas Class Action

    The Prison Law Office, appointed to represent a formerly pro per habeas petitioner who contended the parole board was late in hearing his case, decided to go for a brass ring by filing a class action habeas petition on behalf of all prisoners similarly situated. And they got it . . . at the trial level. Here”s the succinct summary from the opinion in In re Inez Tuto Lugo, case no. A114111 (1st Dist. July 21, 2008): The proceeding giving rise to these consolidated appeals began simply enough with a habeas corpus petition filed by a prisoner who claimed his parole suitability hearing had not been conducted within the time…

  • Federal Procedure,  Habeas Corpus,  Writ Practice

    Successive or Amended Habeas Petition?

    Sometimes, it’s nice to be pro se. I’m not sure the pro se habeas petitioner in Woods v. Carey, case no. 05-55302 (May 13, 2008) would have received the same relief if represented by counsel when he filed a second habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 while his first was pending in the district court. Both petitions asserted deprivation of rights in connection with his parole eligibility and procedures, and the district court dismissed the second petition as an impermissible “successive” petition. The court of appeals reverses with instructions to contstrue the later petition as a motion for leave to amend the original petition. The Ninth first lays out…

  • Death Penalty,  Habeas Corpus,  Writ Practice

    Death Penalty Odyssey Likely to Fuel Debate

    NOTE: This is a re-post of an earlier post that I unwittingly published with the exact same blog title as the below-referenced Decision of the Day post. In a post entitled A “Wholly Discomforting” End To Twenty-Two Years of Death Penalty Appeals, Robert Loblaw at Decision of the Day notes yesterday’s 159-page decision in Cooper v. Brown, case no. 05-99004 (9th Cir. Dec. 4, 2007) and comments on how it is likely to fuel debate on the death penalty. I think I remember hearing about this case on the news the last time Cooper’s execution was stayed, but I sure don’t remember the “discomforting” facts DoD excerpts from the concurring…

  • Federal Procedure,  Habeas Corpus,  Writ Practice

    Looking for Help re Anonymous Habeas Case

    Howard Bashman at How Appealing is looking for an explanation why the habeas petitioner in yesterday’s Doe v. Woodford, case no. 06-16054 (9th Cir. Nov. 27, 2007) opinion was kept anonymous despite the facts that (1) it appears to be a substitute opinion for an earlier opinion under the same case number, in which the petitioner was identified and (2) the PACER records for the case continue to identify the petitioner by name.  The opinion itself is silent on the reason for anonymity. Anyway, Bashman would appreciate it if you can e-mail him with any information that may help explain the anonymity of the habeas petitioner in yesterday’s opinion.

  • Habeas Corpus,  Ninth Circuit

    Conflict with Appellate Counsel Doesn’t Merit Habeas Relief

    In Foote v. Del Papa, case no. 06-15094 (May 22, 2007), the Ninth Circuit holds that a state criminal defendant’s “irreconcilable conflict” with appellate counsel does not, in itself, entitle the state defendant to habeas relief. Foote filed suit against his assigned attorney and the public defender’s office a month after his arraignment, claiming that his assigned defender’s handling of the case deprived him of his Constitutional rights. The public defender’s office moved to withdraw, claiming the lawsuit created a “clear conflict of interest.” After sentencing, the state trial court granted the request of Foote’s retained counsel to assign the public defender to represent Foote on appeal. Foote’s direct appeal…