Cody v. United States

Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Due Process Institute as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner (On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari). 

Brief filed: 11/24/2021


Cody v. United States

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 21-6099

Prior Decision

Decision below 998 F.3d 912 (11th Cir. 2021)


Without addressing the relevant text or history, the Eleventh Circuit held that, for purposes of the COA statute, a “proceeding under section 2255” extends beyond identifying a defect in custody—habeas’s historic outer limit—to also include the process of choosing an appropriate remedy. The court of appeals erred by reading the jurisdictional limits in the Antiterror-ism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”) in isolation from—rather than in pari materia with—the jurisdictional grants that they were enacted to restrain. Read together, sections 2255 and 2253 communicate Congress’s unambiguous intent that a “proceeding under section 2255” has the same scope as a traditional proceeding for habeas corpus. This Court’s habeas precedents, in turn, make clear that the scope of that proceeding does not include selecting a remedy. review is warranted because requiring a Certificate of Appealability prior to appellate review of a choice of remedy under § 2255(b) would be the functional equivalent of abolishing review altogether. COAs are available only for constitutional claims, but the choice of post-conviction remedy is an almost purely statutory procedure, and, as a practical matter, no COA could ever issue to a defendant in petitioner’s position. This Court’s review is needed to resolve that split and correct the Eleventh Circuit’s misinterpretation of the statutes governing federal post-conviction review.


Collin P. Wedel, Sidley Austin LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Jeffrey T. Green and Gabriel Schonfeld, Sidley Austin LLP, Washington, DC; David M. Porter, NACDL, Sacramento, CA; Shana-Tara O’Toole, Due Process Institute, Washington, DC.

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