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Minnesota State Law Library

Criminal Law and Procedure

Criminal Appeals

Post-Conviction Relief

Habeas Corpus

State Habeas Corpus - Is a claim that a person is being involuntarily confined, such as in a prison or or state hospital, by the government and demands they be brought before a judge to determine the legality of their detention.  Habeas corpus is not used to determine guilt or innocence, mental competence or incompetence, but only to determine whether the person's confinement is legal. 

Federal Habeas Corpus - A person in state custody seeking to challenge the validity of their state court judgment files a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. 2254. An individual in federal custody seeking post-conviction relief from a federal court judgment files a petition under 28 U.S.C. 2255.

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In our positions as librarians, not lawyers, we can suggest resources but cannot give legal advice (such as which form to file) or legal opinions (such as how a statute might apply to particular facts). To do so could be considered the unauthorized practice of law. Even though we try to suggest materials that will be of help, more research is often required to find a complete and correct answer. For many questions, the best answer may be to consult an attorney.