The FCDO’s Non-Capital Habeas Unit
Federal habeas corpus is often the last opportunity a person convicted of a crime has to seek relief from an unconstitutional conviction or sentence. This critically important phase of litigation is also extremely complex, as procedural obstacles often prevent the federal courts from being able to review the constitutional challenges in any given case.
In non-capital cases (cases in which the convicted individual is not facing a death sentence), indigent persons who seek habeas corpus relief do not have an automatic right to a court-appointed attorney. Nonetheless, for some non-capital habeas cases, federal courts determine that justice requires the appointment of an attorney. The FCDO’s Non-Capital Habeas Unit is uniquely equipped to handle those cases. The lawyers in the Unit use their wealth of experience in criminal defense and habeas corpus procedure to provide the highest level of legal representation to persons seeking habeas corpus relief. They represent individuals seeking relief from both state and federal convictions, and they litigate in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. They use a team approach, working with investigators, paralegals, and support staff who are all committed to seeking the best outcomes for their clients while treating them with dignity and respect.