Los Angeles Habeas Petition Lawyers
People are wrongly convicted far too often, and our criminal justice system is biased in a way that ensures wrongful convictions will continue in the future. Fortunately, there are avenues a person can take after a conviction to try to regain their freedom.
Filing an appeal is the first step in this process, but once the opportunities for appeals run out, there is still a final avenue for relief by filing a "writ of habeas corpus petition," also known as a habeas petition. You can use a habeas petition to show that the system failed you, and that you have been convicted or incarcerated illegally. You may file a habeas petition in both California state court and federal court.
Do not try to file a habeas petition on your own. If you or a loved one has exhausted opportunities for overturning a conviction, call Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 to discuss filing a habeas petition.
The term "habeas corpus" is Latin and means "that you have the body." In essence, it refers to the fact that someone who is imprisoned is being held by a government agency – it has their body. It is a concept that is hundreds of years old and is one of the fundamental aspects of our criminal justice system.
The habeas petition is an argument presented by a person who is imprisoned, stating the person is being incarcerated in a way that violates the law. This can be used to argue that a person should not be in prison at all, or to try to improve conditions in a prison. The habeas petition is not an argument of innocence – unlike a trial, there is no debate about guilt or innocence – it is about whether a person has been convicted and imprisoned in a way that is legal under the law.
In order to file a habeas petition in California, you must meet two criteria:
- You must be in custody. You must currently be in a prison or jail, though this can also extend to anything that restricts your liberty, such as being on parole or probation, or out on bail.
- You must have exhausted all other remedies. You have filed any and all appeals available to try to overturn your conviction. In other words, the habeas petition is a final effort to gain relief from imprisonment.
Winning a habeas petition is difficult – in fact, just having it be heard and not dismissed outright can be a minor victory. But certain conditions can make a habeas petition more likely to succeed, which is why it is so important to have an experienced attorney assist you. Some of these conditions include:
- Conviction under unconstitutional law. If you can show that the law you were convicted under violated the California or U.S. Constitution in the first place, then you may be granted relief.
- Ineffective assistance of counsel, or no lawyer provided. If you can show that your first lawyer was incompetent in a fundamental way during the trial, or lied to you, or that you did not have a lawyer provided for you, then you can be granted relief.
- Prosecutorial misconduct. If you can prove that the prosecutor acted in a way that violated your rights, such as by presenting false testimony or withholding key evidence from you or your attorney, then you can be granted relief.
Successfully filing a habeas petition, whether in California or federal court, is complex and requires extensive research. This is not something you should try to do on your own. Call a Los Angeles federal lawyer at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 to discuss your situation and determine how best to proceed.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.