Federal Habeas Corpus


This simulation seminar is designed to provide students with hands on experience with federal habeas corpus proceedings. Federal habeas cases are a particularly instructive way to learn about criminal law and procedure and the criminal justice system because students are able to see the entire life of a criminal case (the case file contains the trial transcript, the appellate briefs, and the state post-conviction record), because the individual cases frequently raise numerous policy-related issues. And because of the issues and interests involved, they are also excellent cases in which to hone advocacy skills.

In lieu of a final exam, students will represent the State or a petitioner in a now-closed federal habeas corpus case, including writing a brief and participating in oral argument.  The goals are for students to gain analysis, writing, and advocacy experience, as well as for students to engage in critical thinking about the criminal justice system in general.

The course is team-taught by a current Assistant Attorney General and Assistant Federal Public Defender, providing students with a unique opportunity to evaluate the competing interests that exist in each criminal case, as well as the criminal justice system itself. Working through the assigned case, as well as participating in class discussions and lectures, students will gain knowledge of how to handle collateral challenges, and will also engage with (1) substantive criminal law and procedure, (2) substantive constitutional law; (3) federal and Oregon rules of civil procedure, (4) federal and Oregon evidentiary rules, and (5) Oregon rules of appellate procedure and preservation of error requirements. The brief will satisfy the Writing Intensive Experience requirement.

Prerequisites: Evidence, and two of the following three classes: Criminal Law I, Criminal Procedure I, Criminal Procedure II.

Meets the WIE writing requirement.