A writ of habeas corpus is an order directing authorities to bring the defendant before a court to determine whether keeping the defendant in custody is legal or not. It is also a way of challenging the constitutionality of a conviction.
Filing a Habeas Corpus Petition
If a habeas corpus petition needs to be filed in a pending case that is already being handled by our office, the Public Defender will do so. If the nature of the writ of habeas corpus relates to a condition of confinement at the Napa County Department of Corrections, you will be asked to first utilize the jail’s administrative process. Also, the Department of Corrections must provide you with a writ of habeas corpus form which you can send directly to the court. The court assigns a judge to review such writs and determine if it should be set for a hearing or denied.
The Public Defender may also agree to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus for a person after conviction, particularly in cases where the validity of the conviction itself is in issue, or where it appears that a person is being unlawfully detained in custody.