, Derry, New Hampshire

Crime / Court

September 28, 2011

Agreements need to be formal — or pay the consequences


The petition must show that the court made errors of law or fact. When court action results in the loss of a constitutionally protected liberty interest, it may be collaterally attacked by way of petition for writ of habeas corpus. However, habeas corpus is not a substitute for an appeal. Literally, habeas corpus means "you have the body."

In one New Hampshire case, a convicted prisoner brought a writ of habeas corpus, also captioning it as a motion to correct an "illegal sentence."

He claimed his trial lawyer was ineffective for failing to protect his rights under double jeopardy and due process, for failing to object to the admission of a plea to a prior criminal charge, and on other grounds.

In State v. Pepin, the Supreme Court sent the case back to Superior Court to sort through the issues.

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Andrew Myers of Derry has law offices in Derry and North Andover. He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association. Send questions to

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