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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.

Recently, California criminal appeals attorney Matthew Barhoma appeared on CourtTV to discuss Governor Newsome’s recent decision not to sign for the release of Leslie Van Houten, despite the parole board’s decision that she should be released on parole. Now 72 years old, Leslie Van Houten was given a life sentence for helping Charles Manson carry out the infamous LaBianca murders back in August 1969. At the time, Van Houten was 19 years old.

In 2020, Van Houten obtained a recommendation from the parole board that she should be released from prison. The board found that she “does not pose an unreasonable risk to public safety” and that she has shown remorse for her actions. However, Governor Newsome refused to sign off on Van Houten’s release, finding that, in his opinion, she posed an unreasonable danger if released. This marks the fifth time the parole board has found Van Houten should be released on parole, and the fifth time the sitting governor reversed the parole board’s decision.

Governors in every state have broad power to grant clemency to an inmate at their discretion. However, California is unique in that it is one of just a few states that allows the governor to reverse a parole board’s decision regarding any inmate who was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole. Attorney Barhoma notes, “Ultimately, the governor is exercising his discretion. I think that he is looking at the criteria quite frankly. There may be public hysteria. She possibly poses a further threat. The way she describes her admiration for Mason maybe really hasn’t changed. So, here are a lot of twists and turns in this.” Here is the interview with Attorney Matthew Barhoma, California Appellate attorney:

The effects of a felony conviction are severe and remain with you for life. However, by obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation, inmates can regain many of the liberties they’ve been deprived of due to their conviction. While certificates of rehabilitation are not new, by any means, they are underutilized, in large part, because they are misunderstood. Read on to learn more about certificates of rehabilitation and how to obtain one.

What Is a Certificates of Rehabilitation?

A certificate of rehabilitation is a court determination that a former inmate has been fully rehabilitated. In this way, a certificate of rehabilitation does not help currently incarcerated inmates; however, it can help formerly incarcerated inmates on their journey to rebuild their lives and become contributing members of society.

Mollie Tibbets’ alleged killer has been convicted of her murder by a jury. While the jury found him guilty, he took the stand in his own case, attesting there were others involved and he was under duress. At first, the testimony seemed strange. And ultimately, the jury did not buy it, when they convicted him of her murder.

During the sentencing phase, Mollie Tibberts’ alleged killer brings a Motion for a New Trialwhich is a motion to bring about a new trial based on “new and additional evidence.”

In this video, California Criminal Appeals attorney, Matthew Barhoma, founder of Barhoma Law, P.C. breaks down analysis regarding the new evidence and outlines all the ways you can use this evidence. This analysis covers even how to use “new and additional evidence” in a Writ of Habeas Corpus setting and in other post-conviction and appellate procedures.

If you were under the age of 26 at the date of the offense giving rise to a criminal conviction, you may be eligible for a Franklin Hearing that would allow you to introduce mitigating factors of youthfulness, which can in turn lead to lighter sentencing and increased Parole Board hearings. In this article, California Criminal Appeals attorneys of Barhoma Law, P.C. explains:

  1. What is a Franklin Petition is and What it Does;
  2. Who is Eligible for a Franklin Petition;

Governor Gavin Newsom recommends for Commutation the Application of a Barhoma Law, P.C. Client who spent nearly three decades behind bars.

Barhoma Law, P.C. receives the Commutation Recommendation from Governor Gavin Newsom’s office. The Barhoma Law, P.C. client may soon be walking free. Historically, Governors will wait and issue a number of Commutations and other Pardons at the end of their term. However, Governor Newsom has elected to issue commutations more periodically. And in making these issuance, he has recieved and reviewed the Commutation Application of a deserving Barhoma Law Client and has recommended his sentence to be commuted.

Traditionally, the Governor’s office has free reign and control to commute sentences in any way they deem fit. One thing the Governor’s office can do is recommend a sentence for commutation by sending the case, alongside the commutation recommendation, to the office of the Parole Board, who will put together a review and hold a hearing. Once that’s completed successfully, it will be sent back to the Governor’s office for final commutation. This particular Barhoma Law client may soon be walking free after nearly 30 years of incarceration.

We are excited to announce the addition of Sandy to our team. Sandy has accepted the role of Law Firm Manager with Barhoma Law! Sandy previously was an executive assistant. Through her diligence, she has accepted a promotion to Law Firm Manager.

Sandy provides excellent rigior and culture to the Barhoma Law team. Adamant about constantly making progress, Sandy does not allow any of our cases to linger. Being that we are California Criminal Appeals lawyers, we cannot have cases linger in progress or in the Courts, especially given the added complications of COVID-19 delays.

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Sandy, Barhoma Law, P.C.’s new Law Firm Manager

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