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Habeas Corpus

Habeas corpus proceedings are intended to test the legality of the petitioner's detention and to secure his or her release if it is determined that the detention is illegal. Cole v. State, 714 So.2d 479, 492 (Fla. 2d DCA 1998).

“If a prisoner files a habeas corpus petition in circuit court, the petition must be filed in the circuit court of the county in which the prisoner is detained.” Alachua Reg'l Juvenile Det. Ctr. v. T.O., 684 So.2d 814, 816 (Fla.1996) (citing § 79.09, Fla. Stat. (1995); Ruiter v. Wainwright, 249 So.2d 67 (Fla. 2d DCA 1971)).

The proper respondent in a habeas corpus petition is the party that has actual custody and is in a position to physically produce the petitioner.” Id. For this reason, the general rule is that the circuit court where the defendant is incarcerated has jurisdiction to grant a writ of habeas corpus.

Attorneys for Habeas Corpus in Tampa, FL

If you are being held without legal authority, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We represent clients in direct appeals and post-conviction motions in Tampa and Hillsborough County, FL. Many habeas corpus cases involve extradition from Florida.

Contact us to discuss your case and ways to fight for your release from custody.

Call 813-250-0500. 


Florida Requirements for Habeas Corpus 

In Perkins v. State, 766 So.2d 1173, 1175 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000), the court found that “[a]lthough a petition for habeas corpus must be filed with the clerk of the court in the county where the defendant is detained, the requirement was met in this case.” One exemption to this rule occurs when the petitioner attacks the validity of the conviction by raising issues relating to the trial or to the propriety of a plea, jurisdiction in habeas proceedings lies with the trial court that imposed the sentence and rendered the judgment of conviction. See Sheriff v. Moore, 781 So.2d 1146 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001).

In Frederick v. State, 714 So.2d 1043, 1043 (Fla. 4th DCA), review denied, 728 So.2d 201 (Fla.1998), the court held that “[h]abeas petitions directed to trial issues must be brought in the circuit court for the county where the trial occurred.” As explained in McLeroy v. State, 704 So.2d 151, 152 (Fla. 5th DCA 1997), “petitions for writ of habeas corpus which allege ineffective assistance of counsel are properly filed in the court where the original sentence was imposed.”

Keep in mind that claims cognizable under rule 3.850, such as ineffective assistance of trial counsel and the involuntariness of a plea, are generally not appropriate for habeas corpus proceedings. Thompson v. State, 759 So.2d 650, 668 n. 13 (Fla.2000). As explained in Finley v. State, 394 So.2d 215, 216 (Fla. 1st DCA 1981), “the remedy of habeas corpus is not available as a substitute for post-conviction relief under Rule 3.850 Fla. R.Crim. P.”

Habeas corpus proceedings may not be used to provide an additional appeal regarding issues or claims that could have been or were raised on appeal or in a rule 3.850 motion. Hunter v. State, 817 So.2d 786 (Fla.2002). Additionally, a petition for writ of habeas corpus may not be used to circumvent the time limitations for filing an appropriate motion for postconviction relief. Shavers v. State, 723 So.2d 371 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998), review denied, 744 So.2d 456 (Fla.1999), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1172, 120 S.Ct. 1198, 145 L.Ed.2d 1102 (2000).


Petitions for Writ of Habeas Corpus in Extradition Cases

In an extradition case, an alleged fugitive may file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. As the United States Supreme Court explained in Michigan v. Doran, 439 U.S. 282, 99 S. Ct. 530, 58 L. Ed. 2d 521 (1978):

[An asylum state] governor's grant of extradition is prima facie evidence that the constitutional and statutory requirements have been met …. Once the governor has granted extradition, a court considering release on habeas corpus can do no more than decide (a) whether the extradition documents on their face are in order; (b) whether the petitioner has been charged with a crime in the demanding state; (c) whether the petitioner is the person named in the request for extradition; and (d) whether the petitioner is a fugitive.

439 U.S. at 289, 99 S. Ct. at 535.

When deciding the merits of the habeas corpus petition, the court is not permitted to inquire into the merits of the underlying cases. The main reason for filing the petition for habeas corpus is because the petitioner can establish by clear and convincing evidence that he is not a fugitive because he was not in the demanding state at the time of the alleged offense in the demanding state. State of South Carolina v. Bailey, 289 U.S. 412, 53 S. Ct. 667, 77 L. Ed. 1292 (1933); Galloway v. Josey, 507 So. 2d 590 (Fla. 1987).


This article was last updated on Friday, June 8, 2018.