One term that comes up in Criminal Defense cases is the term Habeas Corpus. The term Habeas Corpus is a term that means, “that you have the body”. This refers to the court order where the law enforcement officials who have custody of a specific prisoner must appear in court before a judge with the prisoner to help determine if the prisoner is lawfully in prison or jail. Habeas Corpus is a protection against illegal confinement. Illegal confinement could be holding a person without charges such as was the case with detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when due process has been denied, bail is too excessive, parole has been granted, the bail bondsman has improperly surrendered an accused, or probation has been terminated without cause. There are also many issues when it comes to filing a Habeas Corpus Petition. These include the fact that the person must be incarcerated for the case they are seeking review. A Habeas Petition also must be filed within one year of the end of your direct appeal. However, the clock is stopped during your Pennsylvania’s Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) proceeding and begins again when the state Supreme Court denies your PCRA appeal. You also cannot raise an issue for the first time in the Habeas Petition.
For most Criminal Defense lawyers, the issues they see most when dealing with Habeas Corpus include illegal search and seizures (4th amendment), the right to remain silent (5th amendment), the right to an effective counsel (6th amendment), and cruel and unusual punishments (8th amendment). Habeas Corpus Petitions can be extremely complicated and it is important to seek out an experience lawyer to help you file and learn more about these appeals. If you are in need of a Habeas Corpus Appeal contact one of our lawyers at the Law Offices of Kelly and Conte for more information.