Habeas Corpus is the Latin phrase for “that you have the body.” A writ of habeas corpus is a court order that requires a prisoner to be brought before a Federal court to determine whether their detention or imprisonment is legal and with merit. This process allows an independent court to inspect a lower court’s decision. By allowing a writ of habeas corpus, citizens are given an important legal procedure to determine whether criminal charges are legitimate and not an abuse of government powers.
Reasons for Habeas Corpus
A writ of habeas corpus is most commonly used to review the legitimacy of an individual’s imprisonment. However, habeas corpus can be used for many reasons like: review of whether the amount set for bail was excessive, the legitimacy of imprisonment, or the existence of a violation of Constitutional rights.
Petitioning For a Writ of Habeas Corpus
To obtain a writ of habeas corpus, a petition must be filled out. The petition requires a variety of materials, but generally has at least:
- The name of the prisoner;
- The agency or organization that has the prisoner;
- The requested date of the hearing; and
- The issues on which the petitioner is asking the court review;
Typically, an attorney fills out the paperwork and then serves the court the petition. However, prisoners can also fill out the petition themselves. Once receiving the writ, the court will determine whether it should grant the writ, deny the petition, or schedule a hearing on the petition.
Hearing on the Writ
If the court issues a writ of habeas corpus, the court will order the prisoner be brought before the court at a certain date and time. At that hearing, the court will not rule on whether the prisoner is actually guilty, but rather will look to see whether there is a legal basis for the prisoner to be imprisoned. If the court finds that the prisoner is not legally being detained, the court will order the prisoner’s immediate release. However, regardless of whether the detention is unlawful, if the prisoner is still legally charged with a crime, the prisoner will still be subject to a trial on the charges.
If you or someone you know have been charged with a crime, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.
James Minick is founder and C.E.O. of Minick Law, P.C. James is committed to providing top notch legal services through his team of highly specialized legal professionals. James will defend your rights.