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US Criminal Law : Applications for Writ of Habeas Corpus (us)

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 United States >  Criminal Law >  Writ of Habeas Corpus
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Paper and Presentation by: Attorney at Law Gary A. Udashen, Sorrels, Udashen & Anton
Date: 2015



I. General Requirements ............................................................................  1
II. District Court’s Duties.........................................................................  2
III. Facts that Bar Relief .........................................................................  3
IV. Decision by Court of Criminal Appeals ..........................................................  5
V. Decision on Whether Live Evidentiary Hearing is Necessary .......................................  6
VI. Typical Issues Raised in Writ Applications......................................................  7
    a. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel............................................................  7
    b. Suppression of Exculpatory Evidence..........................................................  17
    c. New Evidence Establishing Actual Innocence...................................................  34
    d. New Scientific Evidence......................................................................  51
    e. Additional Grounds for Relief ...............................................................  64


General Requirements

Art. 11.07 governs writ applications on non-death penalty cases. Art. 11.071 applies to writs on death penalty cases. In order to obtain relief on an Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus, the following requirements must be met:

a. Non-Death Cases: The Application must seek relief from a felony judgment imposing a penalty other than death. 11.07, Sec. 1.

Death Cases: Entitled to competent court appointed counsel. Counsel appointed immediately after conviction. 11.071, Sec. 1. Writ application must be filed within 180 days from appointment of counsel or not later than the 45th day after the date the state’s brief is filed on direct appeal, whichever date is later. May receive one 90 day extension. 11.071, Sec. 4(a) and (b).

b. The underlying case must be a final conviction (not probation and not on appeal), 11.07, Sec. 3, Ex parte Johnson, 12 S.W.3d 472 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000).

c. Must raise constitutional or fundamental errors. Ex parte Graves, 70 S.W.3d 103 (Tex. Crim. App. 2002). Relief not available by way of habeas corpus for violations of procedural statutes. Ex parte McCain, 67 S.W.3d 204 (Tex. Crim. App. 2002).

d. Must challenge the applicant’s conviction or sentence and not conditions of confinement. Ex parte Reyes, 209 S.W.3d 126 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006); Cannot be used to seek relief from violations of procedural statutes. McCain v. State, 67 S.W.3d 204 (Tex. Crim. App. 2002).

e. Must allege some form of confinement. “Confinement means confinement for any offense or any collateral consequences resulting from the conviction that is the basis of the instant habeas corpus.” 11.07, Sec. 3(c). Parole is considered restraint that allows habeas writ. Ex parte Elliot, 746 S.W.2d 762 (Tex. Crim. App. 1988).

f. Application must be filed with the District Clerk of the county of conviction. Art. 11.07, Sec. 3(b); 11.071, Sec. 4(a).

g. An applicant must plead and prove facts which entitle him to relief and must prove his claim by a preponderance of the evidence. Ex parte Rains, 555 S.W.2d 478 (Tex. Crim. App. 1976).

h. Must use the form prepared by the Court of Criminal Appeals in an 11.07 writ. Must set out clams on the form. Attaching memorandum with claims set out is insufficient. Ex parte Blacklock, 191 S.W.3d 718 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006).


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