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NCJ Number: NCJ 155504     Find in a Library
Title: Federal Habeas Corpus Review: Challenging State Court Criminal Convictions
  Document URL: Text PDF 
  Agency Summary: Agency Summary 
Author(s): R A Hanson ; H W K Daley
Corporate Author: National Ctr for State Courts
United States of America
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 40
  Annotation: This study examines the processing of habeas corpus petitions in 18 Federal district courts located in nine States (Alabama, California, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas), which comprise approximately half of the Nation's 10,000 petitions filed each year.
Abstract: The research staff attempted to examine 300 cases per State from U.S. district court closed caseloads. Data examined included the number and type of issues raised in the petition, the most serious offense and the sentence imposed at conviction, the underlying State trial court proceeding, the key procedural events in the case and the dates of those events, the manner of disposition, the reason for a court dismissal, and whether the petition was appealed. A section on the "landscape" of habeas corpus discusses the sorts of challenges to convictions raised by prisoners; whether the challenges are directed toward the police prosecutors, defense counsel, or the court; whether the prisoners' underlying offenses are serious and the sentences severe; and the percentage of petitions that arise from capital convictions. A section on Federal review processing time analyzes how and why some petitions take longer to be resolved than others. The final section discusses the implications of the findings for the larger debate associated with Federal habeas corpus litigation. One implication is that the debate might be focusing too narrowly on petitions that challenge death-penalty sentences, since these petitions are less significant in determining case processing time than petitions that arise from life sentences. There is also a need to refocus on whether there should be greater deference to the State courts, since this study shows that the validity of State court convictions remained intact, with the granting of few petitions despite careful and extensive Federal review. 12 tables and 14 references
Main Term(s): Federal courts
Index Term(s): Prisoners rights ; Habeas corpus ; Post-conviction remedies ; Court case flow
Sponsoring Agency: Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
US Dept of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America
Grant Number: 92-BJ-CS-KO26
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

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Type: Report (Study/Research)
Country: United States of America
Language: English
Note: Bureau of Justice Statistics Discussion Paper
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