Litigation: Federal Habeas Litigation

B564 is taught by S. Lahn

Students in this experiential course will work on active habeas corpus cases in the federal district courts and the Seventh Circuit. These cases mainly present federal constitutional claims that, having been rejected on direct appeal and in state post-conviction proceedings, may now be raised in habeas petitions under 28 U.S.C. 2254. After exploring the fundamentals of habeas law in the first three weeks of the course (during which the class will meet for an extra hour weekly), students will analyze the records of clients state-court convictions; identify potential meritorious claims for habeas; conduct investigations and discovery; write motions and briefs; and prepare for live hearings and oral arguments. This first-hand experience with habeas practice will be especially useful for those planning to apply for jobs as federal law clerks; with state attorneys general offices; or in criminal defense. But it will also enhance anyones understanding of the American justice system as a whole, including the current national policy debates about mass incarceration, wrongful convictions, and sentencing reform. Enrollment will be limited to six (6) students and is with the permission of the instructor. There is no final exam; grading will be based on evaluations of students case work and reflective essays. To apply, or for further course information, please email Prof. Lahn at