There have been several cases, wherein people have applied for the Writ of Habeas Corpus, and got freed from the court of law, even after being penalised or imprisoned.
However, it has been noticed that most of the people are not clear about the difference between a direct appeal and an application for Writ of Habeas Corpus. So let’s try to simplify things, with the help of a simple example.
Let us assume that Peter is accused of murder charges. The murder took place on January 1, 2009 at 00:00 hours in Texas. Now, if Peter’s lawyer informs the jury that he was with 5 priests in a church from 23:00 hours to 00:30 hours, and hence he can’t commit the murder, and tries to call those priests to prove Peter innocent, yet gets denied of doing the same, by the jury then it may be treated as a direct appeal.
In case of direct appeal, all the course of action is recorded, and hence it is possible to protest against any act of the jury, which may change the outcome of the case. However, on the other hand if Peter’s attorney doesn’t consider it important to call those 5priests, and never makes an attempt to do so, then it will never be recorded in course of action of the lawsuit. Hence, it is not possible to apply for a direct appeal in this case.
Nevertheless, Peter is free to file for an application for Writ of Habeas Corpus stating that his lawyer did not fight the case efficiently, and he was denied of his constitutional rights to present his case in the desired manner, which might have got him freed from all the charges.
Hence, whenever the acts that change the course of events in a lawsuit are recorded, they may be challenged by filing a direct appeal, while the acts which never get recorded in the course of events may be filed under application for Writ of Habeas Corpus.
But, it is a bitter truth that you may never need to file for Writ of Habeas Corpus, so long as a good appellate lawyer is by your side and turns out to be a good trial lawyer, stating all the facts clearly, leaving no room for disappointment.
As the famous saying goes – “Not Guilty always speaks for itself, but the guilty ones always find excuses to hide their crime”