Most capital habeas petitions are dismissed in a two - or three - page summary order issued by the Court of Criminal Appeals, whereas appellate courts in other death penalty states issue detailed opinions in capital post-conviction cases. Perhaps as a result of this practice, the Court of Criminal Appeals has failed to address claims that later led to relief in federal proceedings. This also creates a problem for death row petitioners and habeas lawyers attempting to research their cases, as there is little case law developed on capital habeas proceedings despite the frequency of death sentences imposed and executions carried out.Like most of the other issues discussed, that observation applies equally to non-capital habeas writs, which are typically dismissed with at most a bare-bones explanation and usually not even that. I'd never thought about how that failure to justify denials undermines the Great Writ, but it's an excellent point.
MORE: See a Dallas News editorial based on the report and coverage from the Austin Statesman.