Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Challenging the constitutionality of Virginia's post-conviction page limits

The Legal Reader has this post, which says a Virginia man facing the death penalty is claiming that "the state's 50-page limit on post-conviction petitions made it impossible for his attorneys to present all the different arguments that might persuade courts to reverse his sentence," linking to this story from the Boston Globe.

I think the actual rule, Rule 5:7A, actually allows a habeas corpus petition to exceed 50 pages with leave of a single justice of the Court, but I don't expect that any of the justices are much interested in accommodating petitions of more than 50 pages. Just this past weekend, I retold the story that I once filed a 105-page paper in support of a motion, and even my wife said that's not a "brief," and when I told the judge of her comment, he added, "did she also say what would be perfectly obvious to anyone else, which is that there's no way you can expect me to read all that?"

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