According to the National Registry of Exonerations, over 2,300 people shave been exonerated for a wrongful conviction. This number only includes cases that have been overturned since 1989 and does not include the innocent individuals still behind bars. A step in the process of overturning a conviction is a post-conviction writ of habeas corpus. This legal document allows an individual behind bars the opportunity to stand in front of a judge and argue their unjust confinement. The writs process is complicated and should not be done without the guidance of an attorney. The Gonzalez Law Group has over 70 years of collective experience assisting clients with post case issues. The criminal defense department at our firm will exhaust all its resources to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved for your situation.
Do not delay. Post-conviction writs should be filed as soon as possible following a criminal conviction. Call (832) 530-4070 to schedule a free case consultation or submit your information in the online contact form. The Gonzalez Law Group has over 70 years of collective experience assisting clients with post case issues in communities across Harris County including Houston, Pearland, Pasadena, Channel View, and many others.
A post-conviction writ of habeas corpus is a method of attacking a conviction when the appeals process has failed. The petition directs law enforcement officials with custody of an individual to appear in court to determine if they have been lawfully confined.
A petition for writ of habeas corpus can be filed when an accused has been denied their fundamental rights granted by the United States Constitution. Typically, the grounds for a writ application include ineffective assistance of legal counsel, misconduct by prosecutors or new evidence that establishes innocence.
A post-conviction writ is also used to protect citizens from illegal confinement. Along with time behind bars, illegal confinement comes in numerous other forms such as:
- Holding without charges
- Denial of due process
- Excessive bail
- Probation is terminated without cause
- Improper surrender by a bail bondsman
It is important to move quickly if you are considering a writ of habeas corpus. The application can be filed at any time, but if you wait too long after a conviction is final, the court might dismiss your application under the laches doctrine (a legal doctrine that means you should have complained earlier.)
When you are filing for a post-conviction writ, certain things need to be mentioned in the application. Article 11.14 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures provides an application of habeas corpus must state the following:
- The name of the person(s) who illegally restrained the person benefiting from the petition. If the name is unknown, a description of the person(s) will suffice.
- When the party is restrained or confined by virtue of any writ, order or process, copies shall be included in the application, or it should be stated copies cannot be obtained.
- If the confinement or restraint is not by virtue of any writ, order or process, the application may state the benefiting party is illegally confined or restrained against their liberty.
- There must be a prayer in the application
- An oath must be made that the allegations in the petition are true
A writ of habeas corpus is not a get out of jail free card. All the application does is bring you from confinement and in front of a judge. You will then be allowed to argue your case and seek relief from the court.
It is important to consult with an attorney if you plan to file an application for writ of habeas corpus. Texas law generally allows an individual to apply for habeas corpus relief once and will bar them from applying later in the future. Because of this, it is critical an attorney meticulously reviews the application.
Habeas Corpus | Texas Code of Criminal Procedure– Follow this link to read the full chapter that governs post-conviction writs in Texas. You can learn about the procedure after a conviction, procedures for cases that involve the death penalty and the obligations of the county. The chapter can be read on the Texas Constitution and Statutes website.
The National Registry of Exonerations– Find a complete list of individuals who have been exonerated in the United States since 1989. You can also gain access to information regarding race and wrongful convictions and factors that contribute to wrongful convictions. The National Registry of Exonerations is a project that sheds light on wrongful criminal convictions in the United States.
Contact a Harris County Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or someone you know had been illegally confined, you should contact The Gonzalez Law Group. You will be burdened with proving your constitutional rights were violated, and this can be difficult to prove on your own. Every case that comes through our door is treated with vigilance, and yours is no exception. The sooner you contact The Gonzalez Law Group, the better. Call (832) 530-4070 to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients in communities across Harris County.