Vanderbilt Law Review


Frank W. Wilson

First Page



Federal habeas corpus for state prisoners is one of the most controversial and emotion-ridden subjects in the entire field of criminal law. Considering the period over which this controversy has continued, it is surely one of the oldest unresolved disputes between the state and federal courts. The removal of an action from a state to a federal court may sometimes cause ruffled feelings, but few judges remain long offended at being relieved of trying a lawsuit. On the other hand, when a federal judge reverses a state judge who has been affirmed by the state appellate courts, forcing him to retry the case or free the accused, the sensibilities of even the most ardent supporter of our dual system of federal and state government are tested. Yet this illustration merely touched the surface of the emotional factors involved and gives little or no hint of the real and vexing legal problems encountered.