How Does an 11.07 Writ of Habeas Help a Convicted Person?

I recently answered a similar question in the context of a murder conviction. This case sentenced an individual to 25 years imprisonment. The question also raised issues about the defendant being a first-time offender. Whether they had inadequate representation. If there was false witness testimony and prosecution based on circumstantial evidence. I realized that these issues apply to a wide range of individuals seeking “post-conviction relief” in the form of a Writ of Habeas Corpus under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 11.07. Below is the analysis of the specific questions raised.

11.07 refers to a post-conviction remedy under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Section 11.07 known as a “writ of habeas corpus.” There is not deadline to file an 11.07 writ of habeas corpus, but our courts say that delay in requesting 11.07 relief can have the effect of watering down an issue. As a rule of thumb, 11.07 relief is limited to issues which could not be raised during the course of the original representation. Let me address the issues you raise below.

First-time offender. Typically, this is what is referred to as a “punishment issue.” A judge or jury’s determination as to what weight to give a defendant’s clean record in punishment is almost impossible to change on appeal. Presumably, this was factored-in when determining a 25 year sentence.

False statements. These fall into two categories: (1) false statements which were believed to be false during trial and for which the defense had ample opportunity to confront through cross-examination, and (2) false statements which were learned by all to be false after the trial because a witness recanted. Generally, the second scenario would be a potentially fruitful area to investigate on an 11.07 writ of habeas corpus.

Circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction. If a judge or jury determines that it adds up to proof beyond a reasonable doubt, this is very hard to contest through the 11.07 writ of habeas corpus process

Inadequate representation. This is one of the most common forms of 11.07 writ of habeas corpus, also known as “ineffective assistance of counsel.” If there was something that the attorney at trial should have done but didn’t and it can be shown that it affected the outcome of the guilt/innocence or punishment, this would be a good 11.07 issue.

Time and costs involved in seeking an 11.07 Writ of habeas

Costs: The costs associated with pursuing an 11.07 writ of habeas corpus can include legal fees, court filing fees, costs of obtaining and reviewing records and transcripts, expert witness fees, and other related expenses. The actual costs can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the case, the number of hearings, the need for expert witnesses, and the overall duration of the proceedings.

Time: The timeframe for a habeas corpus case can be lengthy and can span several months or even years. It involves multiple stages, such as researching and investigating the case, drafting and filing the petition, responding to the state’s arguments, evidentiary hearings, and potential appeals. The duration can also be influenced by factors such as court availability, the complexity of the case, and any procedural delays that may occur.

Likelihood of Success: The likelihood of success in a habeas corpus petition can be challenging to determine without specific details about the case. Success will depend on various factors, including the strength of the legal arguments, the availability of new evidence, the effectiveness of legal representation, the standards applied by the courts, and the specific circumstances surrounding the conviction or detention.

You should consult with an attorney. The points made above are not absolutes. Many times the only way to know if there is an 11.07 Writ of Habeas issue is to hire an attorney to order a transcript and take a look under the hood.

Written by: Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian Last Updated : August 11, 2023