Texas Prison Inmate Criminal Appeals
Get Out of Prison with a Writ of Habeas Corpus Appeal
Often some inmates in Texas prisons are entitled to be released or to be given a new trial even though their regular criminal appeal process was unsuccessful. In these cases a writ of habeas corpus appeal should be seriously considered. In some circumstances, this type of criminal appeal may be brought even many years after the person was sentenced to prison. And, many times prison inmates file habeas corpus appeals that they draft themselves or with the help of a “writ writer” which are routinely denied by the courts. This major mistake can sometimes be corrected with a second habeas corpus appeal, even though there are strict rules regarding filing subsequent habeas corpus appeals.
A common example of when a prison inmate might obtain a new trial by way of a habeas corpus appeal is where their trial or appeal lawyer mishandled the case. It is surprisingly common how many people end up in prison because their lawyer did not properly handle their case in the trial court. It is also surprisingly common how many direct appeals are improperly handled causing the prison inmate to lose their best opportunity to reverse the conviction. People in this situation should consider a habeas corpus appeal.
Other examples of habeas corpus appeals are (1) newly discovered evidence that was not introduced in the original proceeding; (2) illegal sentences that were ordered by the original court; (3) improper conduct on the part of the prosecutor; (4) changes in the law; and (5) convictions based on unconstitutional statutes.
Hootman can review any prison sentence case to determine if it might be subject to reversal by way of a habeas corpus appeal. This is an often overlooked remedy that should be seriously considered by anyone serving a prison sentence in Texas, especially if the direct appeal has been unsuccessful or improperly handled.
Criminal Appeals in Texas - A Complex Journey
Texas criminal appeals are surprisingly complex. The following are the various routes a criminal appeal can take. Let’s call the person charged with a crime, John.
First. John is sentenced in the trial court.
Second. John must file a notice of appeal within 30 days after the sentence (sometimes the 30-day deadline is extended) so that the case is transferred to the court of appeals (there are 14 different courts of appeal in Texas). The court of appeals can reverse, affirm, or modify the sentence.
Third. If the sentence is affirmed by the court of appeals, John has 45 days to file an appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin. The court of criminal appeals can accept the appeal for review or reject it. If it accepts the appeal, then it can reverse, affirm, or modify the sentence.
Fourth. If the court of criminal appeals does not grant the relief requested, John has 90 days to file a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court can accept the appeal for review or reject it. If it accepts the appeal, then it can reverse, affirm, or modify the sentence.
Fifth. John can file an application for a writ of habeas corpus in the trial court that sentenced him. The judge in the trial court is not authorized to grant the writ–the judge may only make a recommendation. John is often entitled to a full evidentiary hearing on his application for a writ of habeas corpus. This is a great benefit to John’s appeal. After the trial judge makes his recommendation, the case is then sent to the court of criminal appeals, where a panel of appellate judges determines if a new trial should be awarded.
Sixth. If the court of criminal appeals does not grant relief on the application for a writ of habeas corpus, John may appeal the ruling to the United States Supreme Court. Again, the Supreme Court can accept the habeas appeal for review or reject it. If it accepts the habeas corpus appeal, it can reverse, affirm, or modify the sentence.
Seventh. John can file an application for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court. There is a one year time period from the sentence to file such a habeas appeal.
Eighth. John can appeal the application for a writ of habeas corpus in the Federal trial court to the Federal Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit located in New Orleans. The Federal court of appeals can reverse, affirm, or modify the sentence.
Ninth. If the Federal court of appeals does not grant relief on the habeas appeal from the Federal trial court, John can appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
Tenth. In limited circumstances, John can file additional applications for habeas corpus relief in State and Federal court which, again, may be appealed to the State court of appeals, to the Federal court of appeals, and to the United States Supreme Court.
If you are or if you know of friend or family member who is a Texas prison inmate and who you believe is innocent, contact the law office of Tim Hootman, at 713.247.9548 or 713.366.6229 (cell) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to determine if a writ of habeas corpus appeal can help.