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Habeus Corpus Petitions

Federal habeas practice (which, for state prisoners, is 28 U.S.C. § 2254) is a highly specialized practice. As a general rule, state habeas petitioners in federal court can raise only federal constitutional issues which have been exhausted in state court. Federal habeas practice becomes highly specialized and highly technical. Mr. Cornell has said that in capital murder petitions under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, the litigation “consists of the attorney general trying to murder your client legally on some hypertechnical point, while you try to keep him alive on some equally hypertechnical point!” (Of course, that isn’t universally true; but more often than not, it is).

See: Gallego v. McDaniel, 124 F.3d 1065 (9th Cir. 1997);