Applying for a writ of habeas corpus or other post-conviction relief involves petitioning a federal court to review the legality of your conviction or custody.
If you are in state custody, 28 U.S.C. § 2254 allows a federal court to grant relief if the state court (1) acted in a way that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States, or (2) decided your case based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceeding. If you are in federal custody, 28 U.S.C. § 2255 allows you to argue that your conviction or sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States. In limited cases, a person can also seek the writ through 28 U.S.C. § 2241 or 28 U.S.C. § 1651.
The statute of limitations for filing such an application begins to run on the date your conviction becomes “final,” which is determined in different ways depending on the history of your case. However, once that time-period expires there are very few circumstances in which you can ask a court to accept your petition. In addition, the failure to raise claims in your petition can bar you from attempting to raise them in a later petition.
For those reasons it is important that you are represented by a criminal defense lawyer who knows all of the applicable laws and rules involved in post-conviction proceedings. Mr. Mintz has years of experience in these matters and has litigated them in the federal district courts as well as the federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit here in New York City.