In 1953 Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson famously stated in a 1953 habeas ruling that, “He who must search a haystack for a needle is likely to end up with an attitude that the needle is not worth the search.”
(This is important because Habeas corpus (Latin: “you may have the body”) is the legal wording for the action through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention.)
Sadly, not much has changed: we have an overburdened system and overburdened judges who have become less motivated to find the truly innocent within the habeas claims.
As Nancy J. King, a top habeas scholar at Vanderbilt University argues, our habeas system that was designed to give wronged prisoners the opportunity for relief, has become largely abused. She suggests that habeas rulings should be limited to state prisoners who have claims of actual innocent, not procedural missteps, in order to lessen the burden.
Do you think this makes sense? Perhaps the need for more judges to handle the many cases is also in order?
How do you think we can take years of professional biases and individual abuses of the system and turn them into the judicial system we intended wherein the guilty are convicted and the innocent freed?