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How a 2254 or 2255 post-conviction claim works

If you have been convicted on a state or federal offense, there is an avenue remaining to you by which federal courts – not state courts -- can be helpful.

Relief in these circumstances goes by the names § 2254 (for state offenses) and § 2255 (for federal offenses). To access one or the other you must file a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C.

These claims are not appropriate for every conviction situation. Specifically, they are an appeal to a federal court to consider whether your constitutional rights were violated in your original trial by the state.

Possible outcomes

In the petition, you claim that you should be released because your sentence in some way violated your rights under the Constitution, or under laws of the United States. Sometimes it is based on whether the court overstepped its bounds – it lacked jurisdiction, or the sentence exceeded the maximum allowed by law.

If the court finds favor with your claim, the court may vacate your sentence, or change it so that it complies with accepted practice. A new trial may be ordered, depending on the decision.

Types of claims

A § 2254 or § 2254 claim typically involves:

  • Ineffective assistance of counsel: your defense was so inept that it violated your rights to competent representation.
  • Misconduct by the prosecution, by the police, or by the jury.

These proceedings are not a retrial, but a form of appeal. If you were convicted of a state crime, you may not file a petition for federal relief until you have exhausted state remedies. Resolution may take a few weeks, a year or even longer.

You can bring file a § 2254 or § 2255 action either in the district where you are incarcerated or in the district where you were convicted.

At Miele & Rymsza PC, we take appellate and post-conviction relief work seriously. Our system of law is weakened when the law is not followed.

Our goal for you is a successful outcome. We will not pursue a case that we can see lacks merit.

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Toll Free: 888-290-8073