Historically, habeas corpus was provided as a means to challenge unlawful imprisonment. Today, the federal habeas corpus process allows individuals who have been convicted of state crimes to ask federal courts to review their convictions. As this process is complex and time-sensitive, consulting a Charleston federal habeas corpus lawyer could be a wise decision.
Although relief through the federal habeas review process is limited, some people do have legitimate grounds for requesting it. In many cases, you must pursue other options for relief before you are entitled to a habeas review. A criminal lawyer can examine your situation and determine whether seeking federal habeas corpus review would be beneficial for you.
Grounds for Federal Habeas Corpus Claims
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, federal courts can review habeas petitions from people who are incarcerated under state law. However, the claim must focus on whether the detention of individuals violates the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. More specifically, the state court’s decision must have violated established federal law or relied on an unreasonable interpretation of the facts in the case.
Federal habeas corpus claims have strict limitations, and many cases do not qualify for this type of relief. A federal habeas corpus lawyer in Charleston can judge whether habeas corpus relief is a potential remedy in individual situations. Without legal assistance to make this determination, those attempting to pursue this relief on their own may not be successful.
Newly Discovered Evidence and Habeas Corpus
Another potential ground for habeas corpus relief is newly discovered evidence, but only in one situation. If people can prove by clear and convincing evidence that if a constitutional error had not occurred, reasonable factfinders would not have found them guilty, then they could be entitled to habeas relief on this basis.
Typically, the court dismisses second or subsequent petitions unless a three-judge panel of the Circuit Court of Appeals approves the petition, but newly discovered evidence could justify another appeal.
Exhaustion of Remedies
One prerequisite to seeking federal habeas corpus relief is the exhaustion of remedies. Habeas review by a federal court is typically the last resort in state criminal cases. Individuals seeking habeas review are required to pursue all other available remedies first.
Under state law, individuals must pursue the following avenues of relief before they seek a writ of habeas corpus:
- Appeal their convictions to the state Court of Appeals
- Appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court
- File a petition for post-conviction relief in state court
- Appeal a denial of that relief to the South Carolina Supreme Court
- Pursue any other available remedies
Once individuals have exhausted all these avenues of relief, only then could they pursue a writ of habeas corpus, although the law does permit a few narrow exceptions. However, they also must have a situation that falls within the permissible grounds for this form of relief. A federal habeas corpus attorney in Charleston can help ensure that individuals have exhausted all their remedies before pursuing habeas corpus review.
Contact a Charleston Federal Habeas Corpus Attorney After Exhausting All of Your Options
Both federal habeas corpus petitions and other remedies in state courts are subject to strict deadlines. Therefore, waiting too long to pursue these forms of relief can be detrimental to your claims. A Charleston federal habeas corpus lawyer can assess your situation and work toward the best possible forms of relief in your case.
Federal habeas corpus relief is a complex area of federal law that an experienced criminal defense attorney could navigate correctly. By enlisting the support of a strong legal advocate, you could pursue this relief in appropriate cases.