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Appeals and Habeas Corpus Petitions

Types of Judicial Relief

The first step in post-conviction appellate process is called the “Direct Appeal”. For direct appeal, there are some important facts that must be understood, in order to better understand the writs that follow direct appeals.

On direct appeal:

When all direct appeals have been exhausted by a defendant (inmate), many times hope feels lost. This is a normal feeling, but not true. After direct appeals are finished with no relief, there are three separate options for relief. All three are Writs, and each has a specific use. These writs are used as follows:

  • A Writ of Habeas Corpus (28 U.S.C. §2255) collaterally challenges constitutional issues regarding conviction and sentencing. These can range from Due Process violations, such as ineffective assistance of counsel, all the way to death-penalty arguments about cruel and unusual punishment protections.
  • A Writ of Habeas Corpus (28 U.S.C. §2241) challenges the way a sentence is being carried out. A non-violent, first time offender who is serving a 20-month sentence should not be incarcerated in ADX Supermax in Florence Colorado with convicts like terrorists or the Unibomber. This writ is used to challenge the way a sentences is being served, as opposed to §2255 challenges to the sentence/conviction itself.
  • A Writ of Coram Nobis (28 U.S.C. §1651) is used after a sentence is served and completed (including probation/supervised release). These writs are rare and are used to overturn old convictions that constitute an unconscionable miscarriage of justice.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

PCR Consultants is a different kind of consulting agency. PCR stands for Post Conviction Relief and we focus on changing outcomes when contending with the federal justice system, Bureau of Prisons, and United States Probation.

Find out how we can help by calling us for a free consultation at (480) 382-9287.

For more ways to contact us, visit our contact us page for contact form and e-mail addresses. Read on for more information about the use of habeas writs.

Uses of Habeas Corpus Motions

The two Writs of Habeas Corpus are used by a criminal defendant who is currently incarcerated. Depending on the situation, each can be used to grant relief to the inmate.

A §2255 motion (or petition) is used to challenge the underlying sentence and/or conviction in ways that are unavailable on direct appeal. The vast majority of these motions cite “Ineffective Assistance of Counsel” as a basis for challenge. If a lawyer clearly did a terrible job, this form of relief may be what an inmate needs to reverse his conviction. Strong standards apply to this type of appeal, but relief is not at all impossible with the right help.

A §2241 motion (or petition) is used to challenge conditions or legality of confinement. If unconstitutional treatment is given to an inmate, this type of relief is best used. This type of relief is of particular importance for inmates who are held after their sentence has expired, if they are being held illegally, or if execution of a sentence is being improperly managed by the Bureau of Prisons.

Writ of Coram Nobis

This is a special writ that is based in Common Law. Used only after a sentence of imprisonment is finished, this tool is used to overturn a conviction long after the fact if circumstances have changed in the legal landscape. If a form of prosecution used to convict is deemed illegal or unconstitutional, this writ can be used effectively to remove a criminal conviction from an ex-con’s record.

6 thoughts on “Appeals and Habeas Corpus Petitions”

  1. I filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus, long after the sentence was completed. Now i am wondering if I filed the correct motion?

    1. When submitting for relief after a sentence is completed, a Writ of Habeas Corpus is not the appropriate avenue. Literally Habeas Corpus means “produce the body” and is used to remove an inmate from incarcerated surroundings. Depending on the situation, a Writ of Coram Nobis is better suited to deal with a prior conviction after release from custody.

  2. My son is in prison for 6 years for consensual sex with teenage girls. (He was 19) He wants to file a PCR but I don’t know where to start and another lawyer bill is out. Where would you suggest starting? He was in a bad accident when he was a teen with traumatic brain injury. I really believe this slowed his maturity and increased his impulsivity. The lawyer did not want to use it as it might have him labeled as ‘unable to control his sex urges’. Since it wasn’t brought up then, is it still out now until maybe his habeas corpus?

    1. If your son’s lawyer did not use the fact that his traumatic brain injury could have impaired his judgement, you may have grounds to use ‘Ineffective Assistance of Counsel’ as a foundation to use the §2255 vehicle for Habeas Relief detailed above. Further review of the details of the cases is needed before any habeas action could be pursued. Please contact us to find out what can be done and how we can help

  3. my husband was sentenced to 5 years for drug trafficking, he was set up by a life long “friend”, which turned into an instant “confidential informant”, the offer of 5 yea rs was a good deal if you look at his past just 3 months shy of 10 years previous! so needless to say the atty never diposed the “C.I.” because his case was also pending at the time. now the “c.I.” was sentenced to 1 year 1 month, and I am trying to find out if he can be diposed now if my husband files a motion for ineffectiveness of counsel? Any help is appreciated!

  4. Pingback: 2255 Motion to Vacate or Set Aside Sentence – PCR Consultants

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