A recurring issuing in the law of federal habeas corpus is whether and when a federal court can hold an evidentiary hearing because it is dissatisfied with the fact-finding in the case by the state court. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to resolve a circuit split on this issue, denying certiorari in the Illinois case of Brookhart v. Lee, No. 18-1197 and the Arizona case of Apelt v. Ryan, No. 18-8386.
Given that these cases come from the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, respectively, experienced court-watches might guess which way the split ran. They would likely guess wrong.
CJLF filed an amicus brief in Brookhart, supporting Illinois’ petition. The issue remains alive, and we will try again in an appropriate case.