If you have been convicted of a crime in New York, you should be aware of your rights to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus. This civil proceeding is available in both state and federal court to challenge the legality of imprisonment. Are you being unlawfully detained? Should you be released from custody?

The History of the Writ of Habeas Corpus

The Latin term “habeas corpus” roughly translates to, “You have the body.” It dates back to 14th century England.

In a 1969 opinion, the United States Supreme Court stated that the Writ of Habeas Corpus is the “fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action.” And it is now codified into New York state and U.S. federal law.

There are many specific rules about when and how to bring a Writ of Habeas Corpus to State or Federal Court.

Writs of Habeas Corpus in New York State Courts

In New York State Courts, the Writ of Habeas Corpus is usually available to anyone in the state’s custody, and must be brought before a Florida Supreme Court judge.

A Writ of Habeas Corpus can be used for many reasons, including:

  • Challenge your detention
  • Request a reduction in bail
  • Remedy your treatment while incarcerated

Writs of Habeas Corpus in Federal Courts

In Federal Court, the Writ of Habeas Corpus is more complicated.

First, it’s important to note that a Writ of Habeas Corpus is not a federal appeal. A Writ of Habeas Corpus is filed with a federal court after state appellate remedies have been exhausted.

The federal court has no supervisory authority over criminal proceedings in state courts, including trials. The federal court can only impose standards dictated by the United States Constitution.

There are many complex restrictions, statutes, and case law dictating how and when a Writ may be brought and may impact your ability to file a petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus in Federal Court.

For example, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which passed in 1996, alone passed several specific restrictions and time limitations that must be taken into account.

Is a Writ of Habeas Corpus an Available Remedy for You?

There are many ways to seek post-conviction relief in New York and have your civil rights and privileges restored, including sealing your criminal record, a Writ of Coram Nobis, a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, and a Certificate of Good Conduct.

The best way to know if a Writ of Habeas Corpus is the best fit for your situation is to discuss the option with a qualified post-conviction law attorney as soon as possible. Be aware that time may be of the essence.

Reach out to the Hubert Law Office by calling 718-522-4646 or filling out our contact form.

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