Unless you have been there, it is almost impossible to understand just how devastating it can be to watch a family member, romantic partner or other loved one have to spend time behind bars. If the person you love also spends time in jail after experiencing unfair or unjust treatment in the courtroom, watching him or her remain incarcerated may prove even more difficult.

If, however, your loved one remains behind bars because someone infringed on his or her rights at some point during the criminal case, he or she may be able to challenge the resulting incarceration and attempt to seek relief. To do so, you may be able to ask a federal court to review the details surrounding your loved one’s detention to determine if the imprisonment is, in fact, valid.

Procedural aspects

To move forward with a federal habeas corpus proceeding, your loved one’s situation must first meet two clear criteria. First, he or she must be in custody before filing the petition. Second, if your loved one is currently in state custody, he or she must have exhausted all other possible remedies and appeals before moving forward with habeas corpus proceedings.

Habeas corpus functions

While the majority of the time, habeas corpus cases serve as post-conviction remedies for state or federal prisoners who make allegations of imprisonment for unjust reasons, this is not the only time cases involving habeas corpus occur. In some cases, habeas corpus comes into play in immigration, deportation or military detention cases. In others, the law can determine whether a prisoner failed to receive a speedy trial or hearing, or whether someone denied him or her bail or parole, among related matters.

If your loved one went to prison for reasons that infringe upon his or her rights and you have already tried all other remedies, you may want to find out more about whether the law of habeas corpus may help.