The term habeas corpus comes from English common law and is still available today for individuals seeking release from unlawful incarceration. Without habeas corpus, innocent individuals could remain imprisoned in violation of constitutional or statutory law. Due to the complexity of this process, a South Carolina federal habeas corpus lawyer is instrumental in your ability to pursue this form of relief.

Habeas corpus relief comes with many procedural requirements that the assistance of a seasoned criminal lawyer can help navigate. Habeas petitions have stringent deadlines that individuals must meet. Legal assistance is vital to a positive outcome in federal habeas corpus proceedings.

Types of Habeas Relief

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, individuals can seek relief from state custody on the basis that their incarceration violates the United States Constitution or federal law as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court. In some cases, a petition for a writ of habeas corpus can rely on newly discovered evidence, but in other cases, it could be based on constitutional violations in the law process. Some common types of constitutional errors may include:

  • Forced or coerced confessions in violation of the 5th Amendment
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of the 6th Amendment
  • Unreasonable sentences that amount to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the 8th Amendment
  • Improper suppression of material evidence
  • Actual innocence

28 U.S.C. § 2255 governs motions for relief for individuals in federal custody after being convicted and sentenced for a federal criminal offense. Through this form of relief, individuals can seek a retrial, a different sentence, or the dismissal of all charges against them.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, individuals can use habeas corpus to challenge the conditions or lawfulness of their detention. They can use this section to pursue unlawful incarceration or restraint on liberty, whether based on prolonged detention or improper denial of or refusal to set bond. As a federal habeas corpus lawyer in South Carolina can explain, this type of habeas corpus often arises in the context of immigration hearings.

Limitations on Habeas Relief

Congress has taken steps in recent years to significantly limit the scope of habeas corpus relief. For example, federal law establishes a one-year statute of limitations on the filing of habeas corpus petitions. Unless narrow circumstances are met and a Circuit Court of Appeal approves, individuals are not be allowed to file a second or subsequent petition for writ of habeas corpus.

In terms of reviewing state court convictions, habeas relief is unavailable unless the decision was contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, established federal law as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court. Since the grounds for review are so limited, successful writs of habeas corpus are relatively rare. A federal attorney in South Carolina can evaluate your case to determine whether habeas corpus is a possible remedy.

As a general rule, state inmates must first exhaust their claims in state court.  Due to recent United States case law, it may be possible to raise new claims based on the ineffectiveness of your post-conviction relief attorney. Your federal habeas attorney can help you figure out if this exception applies in your case.

Talk to a South Carolina Federal Habeas Corpus to Pursue Relief Attorney

Habeas relief results in an inmate’s release from custody. Working with a South Carolina federal habeas corpus lawyer could be the most effective means of pursuing this restricted form of relief.

From ineffective assistance of counsel to tainted evidence to prosecutorial misconduct, your attorney can evaluate if there are grounds for habeas corpus relief. Getting individualized legal advice and assistance is crucial to a favorable outcome in your case. Do not delay in getting the opinion of a criminal defense lawyer today.