I haven't done a bunch of links in a good long while. Found myself in the mood over the weekend. Here is a mish-mash of different habeas related stuff from all over the internets:
SCOTUSblog featured another habeas case as its petition of the day last Thursday. The question in the case is when is direct review complete for the purposes of the statute of limitations in a situation where petitioner fails to seek discretionary review from the highest state court. While there is a multi-layered split in the circuits on this issue, I hate to say it but the issue really isn't that compelling in my mind. Maybe I am reading this wrong, but don't these petitioners also have an exhaustion problem as well? So, even if they get through the statute of limitations hurdle, they are still going to face the daunting cause-prejudice/manifest injustice hurdle. Of course, I would still like to see the statute read in the most liberal way that allows these petitioners to get their cases into federal court. And some of those petitioners will then be able to overcome the next big hurdle. But of the issues that could go before the Court, this one doesn't seem like the most compelling.
Many, many moons ago I blogged about a documentary that covered a horrifying tale of wrongful conviction in Mexico called "Presumed Guilty." The movie showed a true breakdown in the Mexican court system. According to The Economist, it has now become the top-grossing documentary ever released in Mexico, even after a Mexican court banned it from being shown in theaters. The point kind of proves itself here.
A couple of weeks ago, there was some media coverage of a "habeas petition" (actually, it's a 2255 motion - I got suckered after I already wrote this paragraph) filed by a member of the so-called Cuban Five. According to one of the articles, petitioner and other members of the Cuban Five were spies for the Cuban government that sought to thwart efforts by Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro. This eventually led to the Cuban government shooting down a plane of exiles over the Florida straights. In the motion, petitioner claims that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. There also seems to be an actual innocence aspect to the motion.
One sad note on that Cuban Five case is that, shortly after the 2255 motion was filed, the defense attorney working on the case, Leonard Weinglass, died. I looked him up and learned that he "defend[ed] some of the most significant political cases of the century," including a member of the Chicago Seven, the defendant in the Pentagon papers case, and Mumia Abu-Jamal. He also represented high profile defendants such as Jane Fonda and Amy Carter. He continued to work up until the day he died at age 77. Fascinating life.
Here is an article in the Green Bay Gazette about an infamous local murder case where several people were convicted of killing a co-worker. One of the people convicted was later ordered released from prison by a federal judge after the judge granted habeas relief on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the habeas grant.
There is an article up at SSRN with the intriguing title, "The Hidden Costs of Habeas Delay." The abstract says that the article "analyzes newly compiled Administrative Office data on more than 200,000 habeas petitions and demonstrates empirically for the first time that there is a widespread and growing problem of delay in the resolution of habeas petitions in the federal courts."