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Credit Hours: 3
Description: This course will provide students with an understanding of federal habeas corpus practice, which is often an inmate’s last opportunity to overturn a conviction or avoid execution. Habeas corpus is often considered the most complex aspect of criminal law. Federal courts deal with habeas petitions regularly. Yet, law students do not routinely learn federal habeas law. This Court will bridge that gap and therefore make students more attractive candidates for prestigious federal judicial clerkships. Students will learn the requirements to proceed in federal habeas and the procedures to follow in filing and litigating a habeas petition from filing to conclusion. They will also learn the doctrines of exhaustion and procedural default, the limitations on granting habeas relief, what to do when habeas relief is denied, and stay of execution litigation in death penalty cases. In a nutshell, students will learn every aspect of federal habeas corpus with the goal that by the conclusion of the course, students will have a basic knowledge of how to litigate a federal habeas petition from filing to final appellate review and have enough federal habeas knowledge to assist federal district court judges decide federal habeas petitions. This knowledge will be gained not just through statutory and case law, but also through practical experience. Students will review habeas pleadings filed in actual death penalty cases and then have the opportunity to draft various pleadings that would be filed in federal habeas cases, either in actual death penalty cases or in a hypothetical case – depending on the status of the professor’s capital habeas cases. By doing so, students will have the option to use this class to satisfy the AWR – Drafting requirement.
Prerequisite: Basic Legal Skills I and II
AWR Possible:
Criminal Law
Enrollment Cap:
30