Friday, December 19, 2008

New Life for Habeas

For those investigators blessed (or cursed) with doing habeas work, here is some hope for new life on retroactivity based upon the US Supreme Court's ruling in Danforth v. Minnesota. The standard for retroactivity analysis has been Teague v. Lane; however, Danforth explicitly permits state courts to fashion their own rules governing the retroactive application of new federal constitutional rules in postconviction proceedings, and leaves open the question whether lower federal courts are bound by Teague in postconviction review of federal criminal convictions. This is a long way of saying that habeas proceedings might be a bit more wide open if the lower federal courts can widen the lens of retroactive application of a new rule. This could be particularly important with the upcoming ruling of Arizona v. Gant-the case involving whether the police may search a car incident to arrest after the occupant is already out of the car.

For more analysis courtesy of Professor Berman, click here.

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