Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Transcripts in State Prisoner Habeas Cases

Dennis Thompson, Jr. v. Deirdre Battaglia, No. 04-3110 (August 14, 2006): In denying Mr. Thompson’s request for post-conviction relief under 28 U.S.C. sec. 2254, the Court commented on the procedure for bringing the transcripts of the state proceedings before the federal courts. Under the special rules that govern the processing of section 2254 cases, the respondent must attach relevant portions of the transcript. The district court may order the state to present additional portions. In this case, the state presented no transcripts at all. The Seventh Circuit found this approach "slipshod, at best," and recommended that in all cases the entire trial transcript should be made a part of the federal record. Nonetheless, the Court believed that it could decide the case on the record before it.