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Habeas Corpus Petition

Habeas Corpus Petition in California; Los Angeles Attorney Provides a Detailed Overview.

Literally translated, a Writ of Habeas Corpus means to bring a body before the court. A Habeas Corpus petition is a legal instrument that allows prisoners to challenge their conviction, sentence, or the conditions of their incarceration. While the California Constitution guarantees the right to Habeas Corpus, it is an extraordinary measure, and is considered a “last resort” after an individual has exhausted all other appellate options.

Habeas Corpus petitions are typically filed in the California Superior Court. There are three requirements that need to be met when filing a Habeas petition.

  • First, the person must be in custody, which includes both physical and constructive custody, ie. parole or probation;
  • Second, all other legal remedies have been exhausted; and
  • Third, the issues raised in the petition, with minor exceptions, must be new and different from those raised on appeal.

In addition, contrary to direct appeals, there are no strict timelines to filing a Habeas Corpus petition. Another difference between a Habeas petition and an appeal is that a Habeas petition is not limited to the court record of the trial and can introduce and rely on information outside the record as well as new evidence.

There are a number of grounds for filing a Habeas Corpus petition. Some of the most common claims raised include:

  • Ineffective assistance of counsel, which happens when an attorney’s representation falls below the professional standards to such an extent as to result in an unfavorable result. Some of the mistakes that can fall within this category include, failure to present evidence of innocence, failure to fully investigate the facts of the case, and failure to call on expert witnesses.
  • Newly discovered evidence, which show actual innocence and/or likelihood to have changed the outcome of the trial.
  • Incompetency to stand trial. A person cannot be tried for a crime if they are incompetent at the time of the criminal proceedings.
  • Unlawful conditions of confinement. Particularly harsh or unsafe prison conditions can be considered “cruel and unusual punishment.” Therefore, a person being kept in poor conditions, denied medical care, or who suffers from abuse are all grounds for a Habeas petition.
  • Other grounds for a Habeas petition include prosecutorial misconduct, improper jury selection or jury misconduct, and false evidence, among others.

If you believe you have grounds for a Habeas Corpus petition, or want to have your case discussed to determine what is the best course of action in your situation, the highly skilled and reliable attorneys at the Justice Firm are here to help and answer any questions you might have. If you or a loved one has questions about filing a Habeas Corpus petition or other post-conviction matters, contact our California appeals attorneys today for a case evaluation locally at (310) 914-2444 or at our Toll-Free number at (866) 695-6714, or click here.

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