Habeas Corpus

You Have Found the Right Attorney to Help with a Writ of Habeas Corpus

If you were unlawfully detained or incarcerated, or you have a loved one who is still in the custody of law enforcement or the prison system, then you might need to bring a Writ of Habeas Corpus to have justice done. This is a complicated process that you do not want to do on your own. Instead, work contact Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 and let us help you through this difficult time.

The Basics of Habeas Corpus

The Writ of Habeas Corpus is a petition to the court to challenge the legal basis for incarceration, the length of your imprisonment, or your conditions of imprisonment. The goal is to get relief from these unlawful conditions. It is an order from a higher court to a lower court (or government agency/official) to force said lower court to appear and bring you before the court.

If you win your petition, then the agency that is responsible for you detention must prove that your detention is both valid and lawful, and that you are being held under reasonable conditions within the law.

Four Things You Can Ask for in a Writ of Habeas Corpus

Broadly speaking, there are four things you can ask the court for in a Writ of Habeas Corpus:

  • To be released from the custody of the agency you are currently being held by
  • To have your term of incarceration reduced
  • To have your rights both declared and respected
  • To bring an end to illegal conditions

Your attorney can prepare the Writ with the details outlined.

Remember That a Writ of Habeas Corpus is Not the Same Thing as an Appeal

If you want to appeal your sentence, we can help you with that – but it is not the same thing as bringing a Writ of Habeas Corpus. An appeal must be done through the appellate court and following the appeals process. A Writ of Habeas Corpus is appropriate only after all state and/or federal appeals have been exhausted.

There Are Many Arguments That Can Result in a Successful Writ of Habeas Corpus

Some of the most common arguments that can overturn convictions via Habeas Corpus include:

  • Proving ineffective counsel. This does not just mean that you did not like your attorney or that you think they did not do a good job. This requires that the trial attorney who represented you was so far below professional standards that you did not receive an effective defense. Supporting facts for this argument can include:
    • Showing that the attorney did not investigate the facts of your case
    • Proving that the attorney did not present relevant evidence of your innocence
    • Showing that the attorney did not call all relevant witnesses to testify
    • Showing that the attorney should have hired an expert to testify but did not do so
    • The attorney provided inaccurate legal advice that the client based major decisions on
    • Proving that the attorney failed to file a valid motion that would likely have led to the suppression of evidence.
  • Jury misconduct. This cannot be vague or rumor based – there must be specific evidence that one or more members of the jury conducted their own investigation and used evidence that was not admitted a trial, was biased against the defendant, discussed the fact that the defendant chose not to testify and used that fact to determine guilt or innocence, discussed the case with members not on the jury, and deliberately considered evidence that was not admissible.
  • Misconduct by the prosecutor. This can include submitting evidence they knew was false and withholding evidence that pointed to the innocent of the defendant.
  • If the defendant is innocent and has supporting evidence, they can submit this information on the Writ of Habeas Corpus.
  • Legal incompetence. A person cannot legally be tried for any crime if they are not competent at the time of the trial.
  • The law was unconstitutional. This is unlikely to work, but has in very rare cases. It involves your attorney showing that the law you were convicted on was unjust and/or unconstitutional.
  • Unlawful conditions. It is not surprising to anyone that prison conditions in the United States are far from perfect. If a person who is incarcerated is physically, sexually, or emotionally abused, this is grounds for filing a petition.

Filing a Writ of Habeas Corpus is often the last resort but it is sometimes successful. If you feel this might be the right next move for your case, or the case of a loved one, contact Simmons Wagner, LLP no for a consultation.