What is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus?
According to 28 U.S.C. 2241, Habeas Corpus is a legal petition for federal or state prisoners to utilize if he or she wishes to challenge the court on how the sentence is being carried out. This petition is also used for prisoners that are being held in federal or state custody due to something other than a judgment of conviction or if the prisoner alleges he or she is illegally detained. A writ of Habeas Corpus is protected be the United States Constitution and is an authorized statute within the federal and state courts. The writ is used in federal courts to challenge the constitutionality of a state court conviction. The Habeas Corpus, or "Great Writ" allows the prisoner the ability to petition the court to determine the legality of his or her arrest, detention, or imprisonment. Created in 1679 during the reign of King Charles II of the Parliament of England, The Habeas Corpus Act serves as a prisoner safeguard towards individual liberty which prevents arbitrary or unlawful imprisonment. This petition directs law enforcement officials such as police, sheriff, or prison administrators who have custody of the prisoner, to bring forth the prisoner before the court to determine whether the prisoner is lawfully being held in detention, jail, or prison. The petition of the writ of Habeas corpus is filled out, then sent to the judge in the district the prisoner is being withheld in. Once the judge reviews the petition, the judge will then set a court hearing to determine whether the prisoner is being illegally confined. Illegal confinement may include issues such as being detained without charges, excessive bail, the improper surrendering of the prisoner by a bail bondsman or probation officer, or if parole has been granted. In modern day, the writ of Habeas corpus is typically used as a post-conviction relief for federal and state prisoners who feel the writ in necessary to the challenge of legality in federal law applications that were utilized in determining their sentence of imprisonment. Habeas Corpus may also be used for deportation and immigration cases as well as convictions in military court, court proceedings before the military commission, or military detentions. In criminal cases, the Habeas corpus is used in preliminary matters to determine (1) an adequate basis for detention, (2) removal to another federal district court, (3) the denial of bail or parole (4) a claim of double jeopardy (5) failure to provide a speedy trial or hearing, or (6) the legality of extradition to a foreign country.
Procedural Aspects of Federal Statue 28 U.S.C. 2241-2256
The outline of this Federal Statute states there is two prerequisites for the petition and review of a writ of Habeas corpus. The prisoner must be in custody when the petition is filed and the prisoner that is filing must have exhausted all possible state relief remedies including an appellate review. Any federal court in the United States may grant a writ of Habeas corpus to any prisoner who is with the jurisdiction. The petition must be written or typed, signed, and verified by the prisoner who is seeking relief. This may also be completed by an individual acting on the prisoners' behalf. The petition must name the custodian as the respondent and state the legal basis for the request. The petitioner must include supporting documents as well. Supporting documents include any administrative remedies or briefs as well as a copy of the decision the prisoner is challenging. The Federal Court is not required to hear a new petition if a previous petition was filed where the issues are of the same nature and no new information is brought forth. Furthermore, if a judge finds there are no grounds for relief, he or she may dismiss the petition for the writ of Habeas corpus.
Statute of Limitations
Under Federal Statute 28 U.S.C. 2241, There is a one (1) year statute of limitations in filing a federal Habeas corpus petition. To determine if the prisoner is within the statute of limitations, he or she must determine three factors.
These three factors include:
When the prisoners statute of limitations began
When it was tolled (or stopped) during the pendency of properly-filed state court post-conviction actions under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2), and
When it ends, by subtracting any time the statute was so tolled (suspended).
When Does the Statue of Limitations Begin?
According to Title 28 U.S.C. 2241(d)(1), a one (1) year limitation shall apply to an application for writ of Habeas corpus by an individual held in custody pursuant to a State court judgment. The limitation period shall be begin from the latest of:
The date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review
The date on which the impediment to filing an application created by the State action in violation of the Constitutional laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such state action
The date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review
The date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.
Commonly, the date on which the judgment became final is used as the starting date. As stated in 28 U.S.C. 2241, if a direct appeal has not been filed, the one (1) year statute of limitations will begin forty-two (42) days after the conviction is entered. If a direct appeal has been filed, the one (1) year statute of limitations will start on the expiration day of the 90-day period granted to the petitioner in which he or she may file a petition for writ of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court. The additional 90-day period does not apply to post-conviction relief actions, so do not count that time period into your limitations calculation.
According to 28 U.S.C. 2241, tolling means the statute of limitations will stop running for a period of time. "The Habeas corpus statue provides state prisoners with tolling while he or she completes state proceedings on a properly filed petition for State post-conviction relief or other collateral reviews with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim." Unlike most federal statute of limitations, the one (1) year limitation of the Habeas corpus can start and stop several times throughout that year. This depends on whether state court collateral findings are concluded or pending. Furthermore, when the tolling has stopped and the limitation time begins to proceed again, the full year does not start over. The time begins where it left off. It is important to note that the days that go by between the final judgment and a collateral filing, and between the final disposition of a collateral filing and the federal Habeas corpus filing, count against the year.
28 U.S.C. 2241-2256