U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Habeas Corpus Certificate of Probable Cause

NCJ Number
Ohio State Law Journal Volume: 44 Issue: 2 Dated: (1983) Pages: 307-336
I P Robbins
Date Published
30 pages
This article discusses the Stevens-Rehnquist debate over the certificate of probable cause in habeas corpus proceedings and addresses current legislative reform of the certificate requirement.
Attention focuses on Jeffries v. Barksdale and Davis v. Jacobs, two cases in which the U.S. Supreme Court denied writs of certiorari to petitioners appealing lower court habeas corpus decisions. Justice Rehnquist's belief that the cases should result in 'dismissals' rather than 'denials' and his consequent dissenting opinions are reported, as is his difference of opinion with Justice Stevens on this matter. Further, the history of the Act of March 10, 1908, known as H.R. 4777, is presented in evidence that Justice Rehnquist was incorrect in his assessments and that Congress intended the requirement for a certificate of probable cause to be a far-reaching limitation on the use of habeas corpus by State prisoners. The standard for the issuance of the certificate is addressed, and the procedural debate between the Courts of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits regarding the notion of a limited certificate of probable cause is analyzed. Further, the difference in the language between section 2253 and rule 22(b) (both outline the necessity for a certificate of probable cause prior to an appeal by a State prisoner from a denial of a petition for habeas corpus relief) is addressed; the procedures specified in each are noted. Three legislative efforts (S.2216, S.2238, and S.2903) to change the certificate requirement and the entire habeas proceeding are discussed. Finally, recommendations to help judges to use the certificate requirement more effectively are provided. Included are 178 references.


No download available