A writ of habeas corpus is a petition that an imprisoned or detained person – or someone on that imprisoned person’s behalf – files in objection to his or her detention or imprisonment. To prevail, the petition must illustrate that the detention-ordering court or entity made a factual or legal error. The availability of this habeas relief is meant to ensure that people are not detained in violation of their constitutional rights. Post-conviction relief (PCR) refers to defendant petitions that are brought against trial deficits, including ineffective counsel or newly discovered supporting evidence, to obtain relief from criminal charges. In fact, PCR to New Jersey Courts is what Habeas Corpus is to the Federal system. In other words, it is the same thing only New Jersey calls it PCR while the constitution and the federal courts refer to it as Habeas Corpus.
When defendants believe they have been imprisoned or detained illegally, a habeas corpus petition can be filed to test the legalities of such detention. The writ of habeas corpus is intended to serve as a crucial check in ensuring that the Federal Government respects important constitutional rights. Habeas corpus can also be employed to examine the extradition process (if used), to reexamine bail terms, and to investigate the court’s jurisdiction.
Habeas Corpus and Eligibility
Habeas review is a federal process, and it necessitates that two conditions be met:
- You must be in custody when you or someone on your behalf files the petition; and
- If you are detained by the state, you must first exhaust all state remedies, including appellate review.
If you are in federal custody and if you qualify, you may be granted a writ of habeas corpus by any federal court who maintains jurisdiction over your case. Your petition will state the facts surrounding your detainment, will incorporate the legal basis for your application, and will identify your custodian – usually the warden – as the respondent.
The writ of habeas corpus provides extraordinary remedy because it allows the power of release after a case has been fully processed through the criminal justice system, with its many checks and balances. This remedy is often applied in cases of immigration law. The burden initially rests with the petitioner’s attempt to show detainment in violation of his or her rights. If successful, the petitioner then passes the burden on to the warden, who must be able to show justification for the imprisonment.
PCR is more general, and it applies to appeals of criminal convictions. The relief can include release, a new trial, a sentence modification, and other such relief. The court can also provide supplementary relief, including re-arraignment, retrial, and custody and release based on security. Both federal and state laws govern PCR, and post-conviction relief can be implemented to impede habeas corpus.
The intermingling of these legal tools becomes very complicated very quickly. If you’ve been tried for criminal charges and need a writ of habeas corpus or PCR, retain experienced legal counsel immediately.
If You’re in Need of a Writ of Habeas Corpus or of PCR, Call 732-662-7658 for a Free Consultation Today
If you or someone you care about is facing criminal charges in New Jersey, the Law Offices of Leon Matchin is here to help. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have the skill and dedication to fight for you, your writ of habeas corpus or PCR, and your case. Your case is far too important to leave to chance; give us a call at 732-662-7658 or contact us online today.