Michigan Court Explains Requirements for Seeking a Writ of Habeas Corpus

People wrongfully convicted of crimes have numerous avenues for seeking justice. For example, they may be able to file appeals or petition the court for a writ of habeas corpus. They must comply with statutory procedures prior to filing their petition, however, and if they fail to do so, their petition will likely be denied, as illustrated in a recent Michigan ruling. If you believe you were wrongfully convicted of a crime or need assistance with another criminal matter, it is in your best interest to contact a Michigan criminal defense lawyer to determine your options.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant was convicted by a jury of numerous weapons offenses and assault with intent to commit murder. The trial court deemed him a third-offense habitual offender and sentenced him to concurrent prison terms of 30 to 60 years, 15 to thirty years, and 34 months to 10 years for his respective crimes. He subsequently appealed, arguing in part that police seized evidence from his home without showing him a warrant in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The state court denied his appeal, and he subsequently filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the district court.

Requirements for Seeking a Writ of Habeas Corpus

After a criminal defendant files a petition for writ of habeas corpus, the court must undertake a preliminary review to evaluate whether it is clear from the face of the petition, including any attached exhibits, that the defendant is not entitled to relief in the district court. If the court finds the petitioner is not in fact entitled to relief, it must dismiss the petition.

The court explained that a party filing a federal habeas corpus petition must exhaust their state court remedies prior to filing the petition. In order to properly exhaust their remedies, they must fairly present each claim to the state court. This includes, among other things, a requirement that the petitioner presents the issue to both the state court of appeals and the state supreme court.

In other words, fair presentation requires that the state courts are given the opportunity to review both the legal and factual grounds for each claim. If a petition contains both unexhausted and exhausted claims, it is referred to as a mixed petition and will typically be subject to dismissal on exhaustion grounds. In the subject case, the defendant’s petition expressly stated that it included unexhausted claims. Thus, the court denied the petition while preserving the defendant’s right to refile in the future.

Speak to Trusted Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Simply because a person is convicted of a crime does not mean that they have no recourse for protecting their liberties and reputation. If you have questions regarding your rights as a criminal defendant, it is smart to speak to an attorney. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a trusted Michigan criminal defense lawyer with the skills and experience needed to help you seek a favorable outcome. You can contact Mr. Bernstein through the form online or by calling (734) 883-9584 to set up a meeting.

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