(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Saturday, January 18, 2003

Supreme Court

The Terms' arguments are now about half over, and I'm having trouble inspiring myself to complete this prediction game. Nonetheless, because the whole world has come to depend on the perseverance of bloggers, I will continue long enough to do this week's cases. At least there are only four, because there's no court on Monday.

So Tuesday brings, first of all, Woodford v. Garceau. The question here is about the effective date of the so-called "AntiTerrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act" and its provisions making it even harder to get federal habeas corpus relief. The actual habeas petition in this case was filed after the effective date of the Act, but the petitioner's first filings (a motion for appointment of counsel and a motion to stay the execution) were filed before that date. The Ninth Circuit said (pdf) that, because he had filed some things before the Act became law, the stringent provisions of the Act didn't apply to his case. Most other courts have disagreed, holding that the critical question is when the petition itself was filed.

How will this come out? It's hard to get a good sense of the issue because I can't find the briefs anywhere online. So I'll go with the rule of thumb: when the Ninth Circuit rules in favor of a convicted criminal, and most other Circuits have gone the other way, the Supreme Court will disagree with the Ninth Circuit. Sorry to be so glib. REVERSE.

posted by sam 6:59 AM 0 comments


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