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Writs of Habeas Corpus

Writ of Habeas Corpus Cases in Dallas

Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers

A writ of habeas corpus is defined as:

“an order issued by a court or judge of competent jurisdiction, directed to anyone having a person in custody, or under his restraint, commanding him to produce such person, at a time and place named in the writ, and show why he is held in custody or under restraint.” Tex. Cod Crim. Pro. Art. 11.01.

Restraint is defined as:

“the kind of control which one person exercises over another, not to confine him within certain limits, but to subject him to the general authority and power of the person claiming such right.” Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 11.22. Restraint can be incarceration or probation.

Besides an appeal, a writ is another way to overturn your conviction. In contrast to an appeal, there is no 30-day deadline to file a State writ. Federal writs must be filed within a year of your conviction being final. Keep in mind though if you wait too long to file a writ, a court may dismiss your claim based on a doctrine of laches, which means you should have complained about it earlier. So, intentionally waiting for your attorney to die before filing a writ will most likely result in the writ getting dismissed.

How to File a Writ of Habeas Corpus in Texas?

To file a Writ of Habeas Corpus in Texas, follow these steps:

  • Understand Your Eligibility: Determine if you or a loved one is eligible for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Typically, this writ is used when a person believes they are wrongfully detained or imprisoned.
  • Consult an Attorney: It's highly advisable to consult with an experienced attorney specializing in habeas corpus cases. They can provide legal guidance, assess your case, and help you navigate the process effectively.
  • Draft the Petition: Work with your attorney to draft a habeas corpus petition. This document should include details about the petitioner, the reason for detention, and any alleged constitutional violations.
  • File the Petition: Submit the petition to the appropriate court. This is often the county or district court where the petitioner is detained or imprisoned in Texas.
  • Serve the Respondent: Provide a copy of the petition to the person or entity responsible for the detention (the respondent). They will have an opportunity to respond to the allegations in court.
  • Court Hearing: Attend the court hearing, where both parties present their arguments. The judge will consider the evidence and legal arguments before making a decision.
  • Decision: The judge may grant the writ, order the petitioner's release, or deny the petition. If the writ is granted, the petitioner will be released from detention, and further proceedings may follow.
  • Appeal (if necessary): If the petition is denied, you may have the option to appeal the decision to a higher court.

Remember that filing a Writ of Habeas Corpus can be a complex legal process, and having legal representation is crucial to ensure your rights are protected. 

Common Claims Raise in a Writ

Here are some of the most common claims raised in a writ:

  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. The US Supreme Court has articulated a 2-part test for determining whether counsel is ineffective: 1) counsel committed an error or omission not justifiable as reasonable trial strategy 2) the error prejudiced the defendant. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984); Hernandez v. State, 726 S.W.2d 53, 57 (Tex. Crim.App. 1986)
    • Failure to adequately investigate facts of the case
    • Failure to convey plea offer
    • Conflicts of interest
    • Failure to file documents
    • Failure to assert an available defense
  • Involuntary Pleas. A guilty plea is constitutionally invalid if not entered knowingly, intelligently, or voluntarily. Meyers v. State, 623 S.W.2d 397 (Tex.Crim.App. 1981)
    • Involuntary due to ineffective assistance
    • Misinformed plea
    • Failure to inform the client about collateral effects of guilty plea
    • Complete failure to admonish (where trial court failed to inform illegal alien of consequences of his plea on his citizenship status that made D a criminal deportee, plea is involuntary Carranza v. State, 980 S.W.2d 653 (Tex.Crim.App.1998)
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct. Under Due Process, a prosecutor has a duty to disclose evidence that may be favorable and material to Defendant’s guilt or punishment. Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83,87 (1963). Failure to disclose is misconduct regardless if it was intentional or not.

There are other claims that can be made but these are the most common. Writs are very powerful tools that can be used to attack convictions. Most of the time a writ is the last opportunity a convicted person has so that is why it is important to get the ball rolling immediately. It is important to be represented by attorneys that have the necessary skills and experience to navigate this complicated area of the law.

Need Trusted Counsel? Call (214) 238-9392 Today.

Contact the lawyers at the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC to have a writ filed on your behalf. We can help defend you against various crimes and fight vigorously to protect your legal rights.

You can call us 24/7 by calling (214) 238-9392 or visit our law office in Dallas, TX today. Se habla Español.


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