I am helping out at Mercer University Law School by teaching a course there called the Habeas Project as a fill-in. The course is more of a small law firm than it is a class. Eight 2Ls and 3Ls work on real cases involving habeas corpus cases at the trial court level and on appeal, direct appeals, and parole petitions. Each student is required to visit the client, keep up correspondence, maintain the file, reseach, write, and all the other things lawyers do. So far (two weeks in) I am having a blast. The students are very motivated.
Yesterday I started the class with an overview of habeas corpus law in Georgia. An overview is pretty much necessary because the procedure, even the basics of it can be pretty complicated. Over the years, I’ve explained it countless times in prison visitation areas and around the little round conference table in my office.
I find, sometimes, that I explain things the way I give driving directions. I can drive you anywhere. Explaining it is a different matter. Last night, I think I figured out way to explain it that works. I may be brining it out in future client meetings, perhaps pared down, assuming that it’s the right client or right family. At least, I’ll keep the concept.
I fired up iThoughtHD on the iPad. iThought is basically an iPad mindmapping application. Mindmapping is great for planning just about anything, including a trial, a brief, or a class. The great thing about this application is that it works with VGA output. So, I used it to guide the lecture. I later emailed it to the class as a reference.
It certainly doesn’t capture every nuance. There are about a thousand different crazy things that can happen along the habeas road in Georgia, which leads to some of our cases. But the basic — here’s what a habeas is — can’t hurt.
I’m sure I’ll tweak it in the future, and it has some problems. But it got the job down. If you are new to habeas, maybe it will help you get started. So, Georgia Habeas Corpus Overview.pdf.