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Grounds for Relief: How to Argue that Confinement is Unlawful

Grounds for Relief: How to Argue that Confinement is Unlawful

 

If a person is convicted of a criminal offense, he or she is typically confined to the jail or prison system to serve their sentence for the crime. However, if a convicted person believes that their confinement is unlawful, legal options exist to challenge the ruling under state and federal law. In Washington, a person can appeal the ruling through the state trial system to overturn his or her sentence of confinement, and under the federal constitution a petition for habeas corpus can be filed as potential relief. To learn more about the grounds for relief in confinement cases, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney today.

Grounds for Appeal

At the state level, if you have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to confinement, you can appeal the decision to a higher court. From the trial level, you can appeal to the appellate court and from the appellate level up to the state supreme court; however, some states have different names for these courts, so it is important to speak with an attorney about your case. An appeal can be made on the basis of law or procedure. Upon appeal, the higher court can either affirm the decision of the lower court, reverse the decision, or remand the case to the trial court with instructions on how to find a particular legal issue.

Habeas Corpus Petitions

A habeas corpus petition is an option for convicted persons under Article I, Section 8 of the federal Constitution. If a habeas corpus petition is filed and granted, the prisoner is brought before the court to review the constitutionality of his or her confinement. It is important to note that the Constitution only grants the right to a petition review, not necessarily a hearing. A habeas corpus petition differs from an appeal at the state or federal level because it is not a challenge to the ruling of the court in your case. This petition focuses narrowly on the constitutionality of your confinement.

Eighth Amendment Claim

One final option is to file a claim under the Eighth Amendment of the federal Constitution that the confinement amounts to cruel and unusual punishment under the law. If a person under confinement can show that the conditions of the confinement rise to the level of cruel and unusual, the court may review and amend the conditions of confinement. One such example recently occurred in Virginia, where a federal court found that death row inmates’ confinement conditions were cruel and unusual. The court found that the physical conditions were untenable and the psychological effects of prolonged isolation rose to the level of unconstitutionality.

Call or Contact a Lawyer Today

Arguments that confinement is unlawful pursuant to the federal or Washington constitution are often complex and lengthy cases that should only be handled by knowledgeable attorneys. To learn more about the legal options for arguing against confinement. Call or contact an attorney by clicking here.