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Articles by Kent A. Russell

Rundown on California Propositions 57 and 64

by Kent A. Russell, Esq.

In the November 2016 elections, California voters enacted Propositions 57 and 64, two new laws that will potentially benefit thousands of prisoners and scores of prior marijuana offenders.

Prop 57 makes most non-violent prisoners eligible for much earlier parole consideration than was possible under the ...

Habeas Hints: Staring Down the Two-Headed Monster: Richter-Pinholster

by Kent Russell

This column provides “habeas hints” to prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys (“in pro per”). The focus of the column is on the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), the federal habeas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus practice in courts throughout the United States.

Part Two of Two

Harrington v. Richter,
131 S.Ct. 770 (2011)

Cullen v. Pinholster,
131 S.Ct. 1388 (2011)



In Richter, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) made ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) claims – heretofore the staple of habeas corpus litigation – even harder to win on federal habeas corpus than they were before; and in Pinholster the Court all but eliminated federal evidentiary hearings as an aid to satisfying AEDPA’s requirement that a state court’s denial of habeas relief be shown to be “unreasonable.” The decisions in Richter and Pinholster represent a two-headed monster that habeas petitioners will frequently face and have to stare down.

In this two-part column, I discuss these two important cases and suggest some Habeas Hints for how to make the best of them. In Part One we focused on Richter. [See: PLN, Nov. 2013, p ...

Habeas Hints: Staring Down the Two-Headed Monster: Richter-Pinholster

by Kent Russell

This column provides “habeas hints” to prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys (“in pro per”). The focus of the column is on the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), the federal habeas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus ...

Habeas Hints: Actual Innocence

by Kent Russell

This column provides “habeas hints” to prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys (“in pro per”). The focus of the column is on the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), the federal habeas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus ...

Habeas Hints: 2012 Supreme Court Habeas Highlights: Plea Bargaining Cases

by Kent Russell

This column provides “habeas hints” to prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys (“in pro per”). The focus of the column is on “AEDPA” (Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act), the federal habeas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus practice ...

Habeas Hints: Expert Testimony in Habeas Cases

by Kent Russell

This column provides “Habeas Hints” to prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys (“in pro per”). The focus of the column is on habeas corpus under AEDPA, the 1996 habeas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus practice in federal courts ...

Habeas Hints: The Year in Review

by Kent Russell, Blaire Russell & Chandra Russell

This column provides “habeas hints” to prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys (“in pro per”). The focus of the column is on habeas corpus under AEDPA, the 1996 habeas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus practice in federal courts throughout the United States.

Habeas Year In Review: 
Supreme Court Term 2009-2010

Holland v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2549 (June 14, 2010).

The question in Holland was whether the AEDPA’s 1-year statute of limitations could be “tolled” (suspended) for equitable reasons after the state post-conviction proceedings had become final and before a ...

Habeas Hints: Certificate of Appealability

by Kent Russell

This column is intended to provide “habeas hints” to prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus peti-tions as their own attorneys (“in pro per”). The focus of the column is habeas corpus practice under AEDPA, the 1996 ha-beas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus practice ...

HABEAS HINTS – CALIFORNIA COMMENT Pace and Bonner: Avoiding and Fighting “Untimeliness” Rulings Under California Law

by Kent Russell

Recently, the interplay of two decisions, one from the U.S. Supreme Court and one from the Ninth Circuit, has created a potential minefield for California habeas corpus petitioners in the form of “untimeliness” rulings under California law, which can result in a federal court dismissing a ...

“Habeas Hints”

by Kent Russell

This column provides “habeas hints” to prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys (“in pro per”). The focus of the column is on habeas corpus under AEDPA, the 1996 habeas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus practice throughout the U ...