Beyond Custody: Expanding Collateral Review of State Convictions

This article advocates extension of collateral review to embrace all parties alleging deprivation of federally guaranteed rights in the state criminal process, regardless of whether the party fulfills the habeas corpus custody requirement. Part I assesses the sufficiency of Supreme Court certiorari jurisdiction to monitor adequately state adjudications of federal constitutional rights, coupled with an evaluation of the technical competency and institutional posture of state courts. Part II examines the significance of the custody limitation on collateral review, both as a substantive element of habeas corpus relief and as a mechanism for funnelling limited judicial resources. Part III presents two alternative means for expanding the scope of collateral review of state convictions: legislation eliminating the statutory habeas corpus custody requirement, or use of section 1983 as a vehicle for collateral review given the unavailability of habeas corpus. Part III also discusses the suitability of section 1983 as an instrument for expanding collateral relief beyond the habeas custody requirement, concluding that such an expansion is essential to the effectuation of substantive federal constitutional principles.