Eric M. Freedman Calls Habeas Ruling a “Blot on the Judicial System”

Eric M. Freedman, Maurice A. Deane Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law

High Court, 9th Circuit Tension Heats Up
By Robert Iafolla
Los Angeles Daily Journal
May 16, 2011


The case involves defendant Jonathan Doody’s 1991 confession of killing nine people at a Buddhist temple in Arizona. Doody maintains it was a false confession, which law enforcement wrung out of him during an unlawful interrogation. Hofstra University Law School professor Eric M. Freedman, who has testified before Congress on habeas issues, said the 9th Circuit’s ruling in the case was no surprise because “the whole world knows the conviction was a blot on the judicial system.”

Nevertheless, three circuit judges who dissented apparently felt the pressure from the Supreme Court to deny habeas relief. Writing for those dissenters, Judge Richard C. Tallman called the court’s decision to remand the case a “shot across our bow” intended to reinforce the deference that the circuit should give to the state court’s habeas denial.