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Federal habeas corpus is no longer the nation's crucial safety net designed to catch errors in trials and sentences. Instead, during the past three decades, Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have transformed it into a sheer wall with few toeholds for the prisoner with a worthy claim. And nowhere is the writ's weakened state clearer than in the case of Warren Hill, as journalist and visiting lecturer at Yale Law School Lincoln Caplan writes for The American Prospect.

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