forwarded to FEAR-List by Shawn Perez, 3-29-96
I've received a copy of the Senate bill (S. 735). Title VI, secs. 601-608 are the habeas sections. The 1-year limit for inmates in custody under state law runs from later of:
(1) final judgment;
(2) removal of impediment to habeas petition created by unconstitutional state action, if it prevented filing;
(3) date constitutional right was recognized by US Supreme Court, if right is newly recognized and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(4) date factual predicate of claim(s) could have been discovered by due diligence.
Also, strange two-tier system is established by the legislation. Only states assuring competency of appeals counsel qualify for habeas reform provisions, but competency of trial counsel is not addressed at all.
There has been a disgusting sales campaign for this bill, saying it's
meant to prevent endless death penalty appeals, even though it applies
to all inmates, and 1995 Justice and Nat'l Center for State Courts report
says capital defendants file only 1% of 10,000 habeas petitions each year,
those 10,000 are only 4% of district court caseload, and 98% of petitions
are dismissed or denied on merits. Congress is completely cynical in seeking
votes by passing this bill, which contains piles of other bad things aside
from habeas parts.