A Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus has long been the safety net that ensures the United States criminal justice system remains a fair one. However, over recent years, both lawmakers and judges have restricted access to the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. In large part, this is due to the pervasive belief that judges and juries “got it right” the first time and that giving inmates a second bite at the apple opens to door to frivolous litigation. However, the Great Writ’s protections are instrumental in ensuring fairness and equality in what is now understood to be an imperfect system. In this article, leading California Appeals lawyers of Barhoma Law, P.C. discuss recent changes to the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Over the past 50 years, the United State Supreme Court has implemented a wide range of restrictions on inmates’ access to the writ of habeas corpus. For example, over the past few decades, the U.S. Supreme court has held that Fourth Amendment violations cannot be relitigated through a writ of habeas corpus. The Court has also determined that the Great Writ can only be used to enforce existing constitutional rights and that federal courts cannot hear claims through a habeas petition unless the inmate presented (and exhausted) those claims in state court.
However, perhaps the most significant law affecting the writ of habeas corpus over the last century was the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, or AEDPA. Under AEDPA, inmates have just one year to file a federal habeas petition after exhausting their state-court remedies. AEDPA also imposes a strict requirement that an inmate includes all their claims in a single filing, meaning a second or successive writ of habeas corpus is frequently summarily denied unless it raises new and compelling evidence.