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Miscarriage of justice; habeas remedy; appellate review, deconstruction and justice, legal indeterminacy, judicial misrepresentation, legal deconstruction

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Courts | Law | Legal Theory


This essay deals with what "the law" did to Dr. Branion, an American citizen, after the jury convicted him of murder in 1968. Under the American legal system, a defendant is entitled to have his case reviewed by a higher court, and, under certain circumstances, if the appellate review is unsuccessful, to present a petition for habeas corpus to a state or federal court. I will focus primarily on the stage of his litigation with which I am most familiar: his pursuit of a habeas remedy in federal court between 1986 and 1989. I will try to explain how one federal judge after another, using reasons wholly inconsistent inter se, managed to affirm the conviction of a provably innocent man.