Enforcing Effective Assistance after Martinez

32 Pages Posted: 4 May 2013

See all articles by Nancy J. King

Nancy J. King

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: May 2, 2013


This Essay argues that the Court’s effort to expand habeas review of ineffective assistance of counsel claims in Martinez v. Ryan will make little difference in either the enforcement of the right to the effective assistance of counsel or the provision of competent representation in state criminal cases. Drawing upon statistics about habeas litigation and emerging case law, the Essay first explains why Martinez is not likely to lead to more federal habeas grants of relief. It then presents new empirical information about state postconviction review (cases filed, counsel, hearings, and relief rates), post-Martinez decisions, and anecdotal reports from the states to explain why, even if federal habeas grants increase, state courts and legislatures are unlikely to respond by invigorating state collateral review. The Essay concludes that alternative means, other than case-by-case postconviction review, will be needed to ensure the provision of effective assistance.

Keywords: habeas, procedural default, Martinez, state post-conviction review, Gideon, Strickland, ineffective assistance

Suggested Citation

King, Nancy J., Enforcing Effective Assistance after Martinez (May 2, 2013). The Yale Law Journal Company, Incorporated in The Yale Law Journal (Forthcoming), Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 13-24, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2259635

Nancy J. King (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
(615) 343-9836 (Phone)
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