Not so long ago, Joseph Hoffmann and Nancy King forcefully argued for the abolition of federal habeas corpus review of state convictions in all cases except capital offenses. See Joseph L. Hoffmann & Nancy King, Rethinking the Federal Role in State Criminal Justice, 84 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 791 (2009). More recently, they’ve authored a book on the same topic entitled Habeas for the Twenty-First Century: Uses, Abuses, and the Future of the Great Writ, which you can purchase for a little over $40. Yesterday, the two authored this op-ed piece in the New York Times, which summarizes their argument.
I strongly disagree with the argument these two advance and I’m not the only person who believes their policy suggestions are misguided. This response by John Blume and his colleagues at Cornell Law does a thorough job attacking Hoffmann & King’s law review article (I’m particularly a fan of Section II, parts B and C found on pages 451-56).
Yet, on the eve of Hoffmann & King’s new book, the renowned sentencing expert Douglas Berman (a law professor at Ohio State) authored his own take on what should be done to reform federal habeas review of state convictions. The key? Juries. Yes indeed, Berman makes a strong argument for utilizing petit juries in habeas proceedings.
Well, when I saw that I had to post about it. I haven’t had a chance to thoroughly read his article yet (remember: finals loom) but I definitely recommend reading it. From the parts I have skimmed, it seems to be quite an interesting article.