West Virginia Law Review

Document Type



The year 1963 may be marked as another milestone in the evolution of the federal writ of habeas corpus. Two recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court have resolved with long needed clarity two threshold problems that face a district court when application for the writ comes from a state prisoner: (1) what issues may be raised and (2) what effect is to be given previous state court consideration of these same issues. Though storms of protest resounded a decade ago about abuse of the writ, the habeas corpus scene in more recent years has been relatively quiet. While academicians were seeking to shore up the rational underpinnings, the surface tensions have been salved by muddy doctrines which permitted district courts to slough off petitions for the writ in gross. The district courts, seemingly as anxious on the whole as state attorneys general, to avoid pressing the federal writ to the fullest scope, were anything but aggressive in responding to petitions for the writ. This situation will now change. A new donneybrook is in the offing.



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