The Rough Draft of The Writ Of Habeas Corpus I Wrote From Prison &The Federal Magistrates Judges 42 Page Opinion Agreeing I was Factually Innocent Recommending My Conviction Be Vacate and My Sentence Overturned!
The story behind this document still amazes me today. If and appeal is denied in the Federal Court System, the Inmate or Felon is considered guilty and has absolutely no presumption of innocence. The final alternative or option left is to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus Petition arguing before the court that originally sentenced the defendant that they are innocent and the court and or the judge should reverse the conviction. It is such a long shot there is no court appointed attorney with guilt already determined and assumed. I like many inmates could not afford to hire counsel. This meant I had to write the petition myself and file it. I am not an attorney and never took any legal courses in college. Even worse, Federal Prisons are not equipped with Word Processors. They have Type Writers available and sell the Ribbons for inmates to purchase at Commissary. The law library at the Federal Prison Facility in Oakdale Louisiana incarcerating me only had a legal library that would be a single book case in most homes.
I asked a friend for assistance. He provided me with the basics including format and included the usual elements of a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Having a basic model, I used the Law Books at my disposal and used email as a make shift word processor which of course lacked almost all the features built into almost every Word Processor. I was also forced to pay for the time I used and the printing of each page. The worst part of it all was that each inmate has a time-limit on email before they are automatically logged out with a required time limit to wait before logging back on which could not have been more frustrating.
Over the course of more than two months I researched and wrote this opinion. I asked my wife Dina to help me edit it and for an attorney friend to convert it into Microsoft word with the proper heading via email and then print the document and return it to me via regular mail. It was quite a process.
It was a one in a million longshot. Most languish for a year or more prior to being rejected. On the rarest of occasions, a hearing is ordered and an attorney appointed if the petition in the opinion of the Presiding Judge or Federal Magistrate the Judge Appoints deems there is legal merit for a hearing.
Still, the legal assumption is that the conviction, sentence and guilt of the inmate is proven beyond a reasonable doubt which essentially means even with a hearing the outcome is denial of the motion with both the conviction, sentence and guilt affirmed one final time to ensure due process. In my case, the Federal Magistrate presiding held a two-day hearing after granting my request for a hearing without allowing the Prosecution to respond prior to granting my motion. Federal Magistrate Kirk also ordered witnesses to appear at the hearing and appointed counsel in the same ruling granting my hearing.
The hearing was scheduled to last a few hours and instead took two full days with witnesses and myself testifying. A few months later I received the ruling. The 42-page ruling from the Magistrate argued I was factually innocent and recommended to the sentencing judge in the same presiding court my conviction be reversed and sentence vacated. Judge Kirk took more time and heard more witnesses testify under oath than the Federal Judge who sentenced me or the appellate courts before or after. His was the most informed, direct and thorough review of the facts with first-hand knowledge and understanding of what took place since he presided over the hearing.
It was a one in million or more longshot and yet I prevailed. Both my rough draft and the Magistrates Opinion follow for your review: