Book Review: The Habeas Citebook: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

The much anticipated second edition of The Habeas Citebook: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, by Brandon Sample and Alissa Hull, is the fifth book to be published by Prison Legal News Publishing. As is the case with the previous four, The Habeas Citebook is an excellent, professional and important publication.

Former federal prisoner-turned-lawyer Brandon Sample and Prisoner Legal Services of New York staff attorney Alissa Hull have put an enormous amount of research into the second edition of this must-have resource. Every new case relating to ineffective assistance of counsel claims is present in this updated edition.

As with the first edition, all case citations include a short statement of the court's holding. Anyone who has ever engaged in legal research will greatly appreciate these short statements. For those with limited research experience, they prevent getting lost inside a judicial opinion. For the more advanced researcher, they provide a mechanism for finding the right case, very quickly.

But what sets The Habeas Citebook apart from so many other legal reference books is the thoughtful organization of the book. The first 40 chapters offer case citations related to ineffective assistance of counsel claims, organized into discrete topical areas. All of the many ways in which a litigant might present an ineffective assistance of counsel claim are here. Finding the leading case on any particular claim is as simple as opening to the easily-located proper chapter. Is it that simple? Yes.

The Habeas Citebook is not just limited to a thorough collection of all relevant cases, however. The last 12 chapters of the book provide virtually everything a prisoner or practitioner needs in order to prepare and file a proper habeas corpus petition. The importance of these chapters cannot be overstated, given the dire consequences that flow from improperly prepared habeas petitions. Congress has made it very difficult for a prisoner to use habeas corpus in order to challenge their conviction and sentence, and it is often the only vehicle available to prisoners. Therefore, habeas petitions must be prepared properly, and The Habeas Citebook is an indispensable tool for those bringing such claims.

The Habeas Citebook includes the cases necessary to support a habeas petition for ineffective assistance of counsel. It also provides a detailed and easily understandable guide to the intricacies of habeas litigation. And if that wasn't enough, the appendices include several sample documents, taken from a successful habeas case advanced by attorney David Zuckerman, after which one may model their own documents.

When it comes to habeas corpus litigation, whether prisoner or practitioner, The Habeas Citebook: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel (2nd Edition) is a required resource.

The Habeas Citebook: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
By Brandon Sample and Alissa Hull
Prison Legal News Publishing, 2016
275 pages, $49.95

(Christopher Zoukis is the author of College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Co., 2014) and Prison Education Guide (Prison Legal News Publishing, 2016). He can be found online at ChristopherZoukis.com, PrisonEducation.com and PrisonLawBlog.com)