Eric O'Brien

Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date


Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Law


This commentary previews the Supreme Court case Jennings v. Stevens which deals with several areas of federal habeas corpus law and procedure. The Court will consider, inter alia, whether a habeas petitioner who succeeds in federal district court nevertheless needs to request a certificate of appealability to bring an alternate grounds for habeas relief at the appellate level. Further, the Court can resolve a major circuit split on whether a court considering an ineffective assistance of counsel claim should consider each instance of ineffective assistance as a single claim or as all parts of one claim. Eric O'Brien suggests the Court should err on the side of petitioner's rights and allow an already successful petitioner the opportunity to bring all meritorious arguments to bear at the appellate level.