Lisa Malmer Johnson

Habeas Corpus is a Latin term which loosely translates to mean “you have the person, now show a legal justification for keeping him or let him go.” [from Federal Habeas Corpus by Andrea Lyon (Carolina Academic Press 2011)] Habeas corpus is a "writ" or legal action through which an incarcerated person can seek to be released from illegal detention. It is the only English common law process that is explicitly mentioned in the United States Constitution.

A person who is convicted of a crime in a state court can sometimes challenge their conviction or sentence in federal court through a Petition for Habeas Corpus. In order to pursue a Petition for Habeas Corpus, the convicted person must show that a violation of his or her rights under the United State's Constitutional or other federal law has occurred after exhausting all opportunities to raise the same issues in the state courts.

In 1996, Congress passed the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). AEDPA establishes a series of complex procedural and technical hurdles which make it extremely difficult for a convicted person to prevail with a Habeas Corpus action. Nevertheless, with the assistance of tenacious and skilled attorneys, some individuals still find justice through Petitions for Habeas Corpus.

I will comb the trial and appeal record for viable Habeas Corpus issues and give you a realistic assessment of your chances for getting relief in federal court. If your case has a viable issue for federal court, I will provide vigorous representation in federal court.

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