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This Article examines two October Term 2011 Supreme Court cases – Maples v. Thomas and Martinez v. Ryan – which have a significant impact on the provision of counsel in state postconviction proceedings. In Maples and Martinez the Court expanded the circumstances in which deficient performance by state postconviction counsel can overcome procedural default, to permit the prisoner to litigate defaulted claims on the merits in federal habeas. The Author argues that, given the increased significance of state postconviction under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), Maples and Martinez could have a salutary effect on the development of the federal constitutional criminal procedure litigated in those proceedings. Furthermore, because these cases coincide with other important developments that make state postconviction more important, they could have critical synergistic effects. Maples and Martinez create incentive for states to provide effective counsel in state postconviction at a moment when these proceeding are being forced to assume a new role in the development of federal constitutional criminal procedure. The confluence of these events could produce a new era in state postconviction.

Recommended Citation

The New State Postconviction, 46 AKRON L. REV. 473 (2013).