call for a Free Consultation: 215.825.5183


Levin & Zeiger LLP | Sitemap


What is Habeas Corpus?

If you have been wrongfully convicted of a criminal offenses and a state court denies all of your available appeals, your case is not necessarily over. Article I, section 91 of the Constitution of the United States allows you to file a writ of habeas corpus, which effectively moves your case from state court to federal court. A federal judge will review your arguments that the state court made the incorrect decision in denying your appeal.

Federal courts do not generally review new evidence presented in a writ of habeas corpus, but only review the evidence previously submitted in state appeals. One exception is when evidence was not previously available or known, such as new DNA evidence. In such cases, the court will likely hold a hearing to determine whether the evidence is admissible for review.

After its review, the court will do one of the following in your case:

  • Deny your petition and uphold your conviction and prison sentence

  • Grant your petition and order another trial

  • Grant your petition and modify your sentence to be in line with the law

  • Order another form of relief if deemed necessary

Even if your habeas corpus petition is denied, you have the opportunity to appeal the lower court's decision to a federal Court of Appeals and to the Supreme Court of the United States,2 if necessary. The Supreme Court only agrees to review approximately one percent of habeas corpus petitions submitted, however some people are successful in this highest form of appeal.

Contact an experienced Philadelphia criminal appeals attorney for help today

If you have been convicted of a crime, your case does not have to end there. Your case may not be over even if your subsequent appeals were denied because habeas corpus is available. Habeas corpus is a complicated process, however, with very particular standards. Drafting and filing a writ of habeas corpus requires particular skill and knowledge of criminal appellate law and procedure. At The Zeiger Firm, we understand the habeas corpus process and know how to craft arguments that sufficiently establish that your conviction was wrongful. Please call our office today at 215-825-5183 to discuss your options for appeal.