Houston Habeas Corpus Lawyer

What is a Writ of Habeas Corpus?

The writ of ‘Habeas Corpus’ is the fundamental legal instrument designed to safeguard individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless government action. Literally meaning to “produce the body,” it requires that a person who is under arrest be brought before a judge or into court. The principle of habeas corpus ensures that a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention or detention lacking sufficient cause or evidence. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner himself (or herself) or his attorney.

The writ itself is a summons with the force of a court order, demanding that a prisoner be taken before the court wherein the custodian present proof of authority so the court may decide whether the custodian has lawful authority to detain the prisoner. This ensures that that a prisoner is not held incommunicadoHabeas Corpus can be used to determine if:

  • the basis for detention was adequate
  • the case should be moved to another district court
  • there should be a denial for bail or parole
  • there was a failure to provide a timely hearing or trial

The REAL ID Act of 2005

Prior to the REAL ID Act of 2005, immigration habeas corpus petitions could be used for two reasons:

  • challenging the legality of a removal order
  • challenging the terms of detention

After the passage of the REAL Act, this first provision was removed, meaning that jurisdiction over orders of removal and deportation was given to the court of appeals. However, this did not affect the ability to challenge either the length or conditions of immigration detention.

One of the main situations that this applies to is known as indefinite detention (or Zadvydas habeas). This happens when a person is ordered to be removed from the country, but because of poor diplomatic relations with their home country, ICE cannot physically report them back to their country. To file this petition, the petitioner must wait six months from the date of the final order of removal, while also cooperating with ICE to get necessary travel documents from their home country embassy.

Contact a Habeas Corpus Lawyer in Houston

At the David A. Breston Law Office, we know that being detained unlawfully and indefinitely by the ICE holds you in limbo, deprives you of your rights, and keeps you away from your family. If you or a loved one has been detained by the ICE, contact our office today and learn about your options to filing a petition for habeas corpus.