Habeas Corpus

Supreme Court Case Roundup: Recent Criminal Cases

U.S. Supreme Court

In this week’s roundup, we’re going to take a look at the current state of the United States Supreme Court calendar, and get quick summaries of all of the criminal cases that are before the Court this term. But, before diving into the cases, here’s a little background on how the Court administers its cases.…

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Gamble v. United States on Double Jeopardy

Gamble v. United States, Double Jeopardy

On December 6, 2018, the U.S Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Gamble v. United States, No. 17-646. Because we covered the Gamble case in some detail last week, we thought it only fitting that we give you the blow-by-blow on how the oral argument went before the Court. A Little Background…

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Sessions v Dimaya – How Will Justice Gorsuch Vote?

Today the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Sessions v Dimaya. Most people have probably never heard of this little case, but in the world of criminal defense and immigration law Sessions v Dimaya has the potential to be a landmark decision. Sessions v Dimaya – It’s All About The “Residual Clause” At issue in Dimaya is whether…

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Mandatory Guideline Sentences Subject to Johnson Challenge

mandatory guideline sentences

Several important decisions have been handed down over the past several weeks involving challenges to mandatory guideline sentences. In 2005 the Supreme Court decided United States v. Booker, which rendered the Sentencing Guidelines advisory instead of mandatory. If you or a loved one were sentenced before Booker, what I am about to discuss is for you. Unfortunately,…

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Witness Credibility Findings May Not Be Rejected Without New Hearing

witness credibility

Witness credibility is often key in resolving whether a federal prisoner is entitled to 28 U.S.C. 2255 relief. This is because 2255 claims typically pit the testimony of defendants against their former lawyers. However, since federal district judges are busy, magistrate judges are routinely tasked with making a report and recommendation about whether the defendant’s…

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Self-Representation Erroneously Denied By State Court


Brian Foster unequivocally asked to represent himself at his state trial. The state trial court conducted a Faretta hearing to decide if it would allow Foster to represent himself. In Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), the Supreme Court recognized the right of self-representation. The state district judge refused Foster’s request to represent himself,…

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Ineffective Assistance Of Post Conviction Counsel May Permit New Challenge To Conviction Or Sentence

ineffective assistance

In many states and at the federal level, claims of trial, sentencing, and appellate ineffectiveness must be raised through post-conviction proceedings. But what happens if your post-conviction lawyer fails to raise a claim of ineffective assistance that could have won? Or, what if you did not have a lawyer when you filed your post-conviction motion,…

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Attorney Abandonment Claim Remanded For A Hearing

attorney abandonment

Mark Christeson filed a motion to re-open his habeas proceedings under Rule 60(b) arguing that his attorney’s failure to timely submit his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition (used by state prisoners but similar to a 2255) constituted attorney abandonment. The abandonment issue was key to resolving whether “extraordinary circumstances” existed to warrant granting Rule 60…

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Burrage Applies Retroactively To Cases On Collateral Review


In Burrage v. United States, 134 S. Ct. 881 (2014), the Supreme Court held that “at least where use of the drug distributed by the defendant is not an independently sufficient cause of the victim’s death or serious bodily injury, a defendant cannot be liable under the penalty enhancement provision of 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C)…

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