2020 Georgia Code
Title 9 - Civil Practice
Chapter 14 - Habeas Corpus
Article 1 - General Provisions

Law reviews.

- For article, "Interstate Extradition and State Sovereignty," see 1 Mercer L. Rev. 147 (1950). For article advocating consistency in statutory provisions governing review of administrative conduct in this state, see 15 Ga. B.J. 153 (1952). For article discussing Georgia's habeas corpus statutes in light of federal courts' requirements of exhaustion of state remedies prior to entertaining a habeas petition, see 9 Ga. St. B.J. 29 (1972). For article, "Georgia's Constitutional Scheme for State Appellate Jurisdiction," see 6 Ga. St. B.J. 24 (2001). For note, "Interstate Extradition," see 1 J. Pub. L. 463 (1952).


Editor's notes.

- Article 2 of this chapter now provides the exclusive procedure for seeking a writ of habeas corpus for persons whose liberty is being restrained by virtue of sentence of a state court of record, expanding the scope of habeas in such cases. See O.C.G.A. §§ 9-14-40 and9-14-41.

Common-law nature of habeas corpus.

- Habeas corpus is a common-law remedy, not a statutory or equitable remedy. Duke v. Duke, 181 Ga. 21, 181 S.E. 161 (1935).

Habeas corpus is a civil proceeding under the laws of this state. Ward v. Smith, 228 Ga. 137, 184 S.E.2d 592 (1971).

Habeas corpus proceeding is not a criminal prosecution. Nolley v. Caldwell, 229 Ga. 441, 192 S.E.2d 151 (1972).

Not technically a suit.

- In a habeas corpus proceeding, there is no plaintiff and no defendant, and there is no suit in the technical sense. Delinski v. Dunn, 209 Ga. 402, 73 S.E.2d 171 (1952).

Illegal detention or restraint is the gist of a habeas corpus proceeding. Wilbanks v. Wilbanks, 220 Ga. 665, 141 S.E.2d 161 (1965).

Question to be determined on return of writ of habeas corpus is legality of detention at the time of the hearing. Harris v. Norris, 188 Ga. 610, 4 S.E.2d 840 (1939); Paulk v. Sexton, 203 Ga. 82, 45 S.E.2d 768 (1947); Balkcom v. Craton, 220 Ga. 216, 138 S.E.2d 163 (1964).

Habeas corpus is available to test legality of present confinement only. Sorrow v. Vickery, 228 Ga. 191, 184 S.E.2d 462 (1971).

Present confinement.

- Writ of habeas corpus looks only to the lawfulness of present confinement. Balkcom v. Hurst, 220 Ga. 405, 139 S.E.2d 306 (1964).

Cannot test legality of future imprisonment.

- Habeas corpus proceedings cannot be used to test legality of possible future imprisonment. Stynchcombe v. Hardy, 228 Ga. 130, 184 S.E.2d 356 (1971).

Habeas court cannot direct trial date.

- It is beyond the authority of the habeas court to direct that the defendant be retried by the trial court within a certain period of time. State v. Hernandez-Cuevas, 202 Ga. App. 861, 415 S.E.2d 713 (1992).

Trial judge in habeas proceeding lacks authority to bar future prosecution of applicant. Stynchcombe v. Hardy, 228 Ga. 130, 184 S.E.2d 356 (1971).

Guilt or innocence of accused is not open to inquiry by courts of this state in habeas corpus proceedings. Hart v. Mount, 196 Ga. 452, 26 S.E.2d 453 (1943).

It is not the function of the writ of habeas corpus to determine guilt or innocence of one accused of crime. Paulk v. Sexton, 203 Ga. 82, 45 S.E.2d 768 (1947).

Appointment of counsel.

- Application for writ of habeas corpus is not a criminal proceeding, and neither U.S. Const., amend. 6 nor Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. I, Para. XI requires appointment of counsel for petitioner. Wyatt v. Caldwell, 229 Ga. 597, 193 S.E.2d 607 (1972); Wallace v. Ault, 229 Ga. 717, 194 S.E.2d 88 (1972).

Habeas corpus is not a criminal proceeding and there is not a constitutional requirement for appointment of counsel in such cases. McClure v. Hopper, 234 Ga. 45, 214 S.E.2d 503 (1975); Moye v. Hopper, 234 Ga. 230, 214 S.E.2d 920 (1975); Stephens v. Balkcom, 245 Ga. 492, 265 S.E.2d 596 (1980).

There is no federal or state constitutional right to appointment of counsel in a habeas corpus proceeding. Stephens v. Balkcom, 245 Ga. 492, 265 S.E.2d 596 (1980).

Indigent habeas petitioners are not entitled to appointed counsel. State v. Davis, 246 Ga. 200, 269 S.E.2d 461 (1980), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1057, 101 S. Ct. 631, 66 L. Ed. 2d 511 (1980).

Meaningful access to the courts does not require providing funds or appointing counsel to indigent habeas petitioners. State v. Davis, 246 Ga. 200, 269 S.E.2d 461 (1980), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1057, 101 S. Ct. 631, 66 L. Ed. 2d 511 (1980).

State is not required to pay petitioner's expenses in habeas corpus proceedings. State v. Davis, 246 Ga. 200, 269 S.E.2d 461 (1980), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1057, 101 S. Ct. 631, 66 L. Ed. 2d 511 (1980).

Law does not require court to subpoena witnesses at request of petitioner for habeas corpus. Nolley v. Caldwell, 229 Ga. 441, 192 S.E.2d 151 (1972).

Judgments in habeas corpus cases are final judgments. Camp v. Camp, 213 Ga. 65, 97 S.E.2d 125 (1957).

Res judicata applies to habeas corpus proceedings. Balkcom v. Townsend, 219 Ga. 708, 135 S.E.2d 399, cert. denied, 377 U.S. 1009, 84 S. Ct. 1939, 12 L. Ed. 2d 1055 (1964).

Order or judgment discharging a person in habeas corpus proceedings is conclusive in the person's favor that the person is illegally held in custody and is res judicata of all issues of law and fact necessarily involved in that result. Sanders v. McHan, 206 Ga. 155, 56 S.E.2d 281 (1949).

Application to habeas corpus proceedings.

- In this state, the common-law rule that the doctrine of res judicata did not extend to the trial of habeas corpus proceedings was not of force and such proceedings were subject to former Code 1933, § 110-501 (see now O.C.G.A. § 9-12-40). Mitchem v. Balkcom, 219 Ga. 47, 131 S.E.2d 562 (1963).

Habeas granted in extradition proceeding for technical objections.

- While grant of writ of habeas corpus is generally to be given res judicata effect in a subsequent habeas proceeding based on the same issues of law and fact, when a previous writ of habeas corpus in an extradition proceeding was granted because of insufficiency of supporting documents or other technical defects which may be subsequently corrected, prior judgment granting the writ would not be res judicata in a subsequent extradition demand brought to avoid the technical objections fatal to the first proceeding. Broughton v. Griffin, 244 Ga. 365, 260 S.E.2d 75 (1979).

Discharge under writ precludes reconfinement under same process.

- Discharge of a party under a writ of habeas corpus from the process under which the party is imprisoned discharges the party from further confinement under the process. Sanders v. McHan, 206 Ga. 155, 56 S.E.2d 281 (1949).

Discharge for same cause or under same sentence.

- Person discharged in habeas corpus proceedings cannot lawfully be again arrested, imprisoned, restrained, or kept in custody for the same cause or under the same sentence. Sanders v. McHan, 206 Ga. 155, 56 S.E.2d 281 (1949).

Cited in Jones v. Hicks, 172 Ga. 907, 159 S.E. 233 (1931); Ellis v. Grimes, 198 Ga. 51, 30 S.E.2d 921 (1944); Porch v. Cagle, 199 F.2d 865 (5th Cir. 1952); McGarrah v. Dutton, 381 F.2d 161 (5th Cir. 1967); Moore v. Dutton, 432 F.2d 1281 (5th Cir. 1970); Leonard v. Benjamin, 253 Ga. 718, 324 S.E.2d 185 (1985).


Habeas corpus lies in behalf of an accused who has been denied benefit of counsel. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 134.

It is not mandatory that counsel be appointed to habeas corpus proceeding. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 133.

Res judicata applies to habeas corpus cases. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 133.



- Habeas corpus to test constitutionality of ordinance under which petitioner is held, 32 A.L.R. 1054.

Mistreatment of prisoner as contempt, 40 A.L.R. 1278.

Right to prove absence from demanding state or alibi on habeas corpus in extradition proceedings, 51 A.L.R. 797; 61 A.L.R. 715.

Supersedeas, stay, or bail, upon appeal in habeas corpus, 63 A.L.R. 1460; 143 A.L.R. 1354.

Determination in extradition proceedings, or on habeas corpus in such proceedings, whether a crime is charged, 81 A.L.R. 552; 40 A.L.R.2d 1151.

Liability of judge, court, administrative officer, or other custodian of person for whose release the writ is sought, in connection with habeas corpus proceedings, 84 A.L.R. 807.

Habeas corpus on ground of unlawful treatment of prisoner lawfully in custody, 155 A.L.R. 145.

Right to aid of counsel in application of hearing for habeas corpus, 162 A.L.R. 922.

Former jeopardy as ground for habeas corpus, 8 A.L.R.2d 285.

Discharge in habeas corpus proceedings as constituting favorable termination of criminal proceedings requisite to maintenance of malicious prosecution action, 30 A.L.R.2d 1128.

Right of accused to have his witnesses free from handcuffs, manacles, shackles, or the like, 75 A.L.R.2d 762.

Discharge on habeas corpus of one held in extradition proceedings as precluding subsequent extradition proceedings, 33 A.L.R.3d 1443.

Modern status of rule relating to jurisdiction of state court to try criminal defendant brought within jurisdiction illegally or as result of fraud or mistake, 25 A.L.R.4th 157.

When is a person in custody of governmental authorities for purpose of exercise of state remedy of habeas corpus - modern cases, 26 A.L.R.4th 455.

Jurisdiction of federal court to try criminal defendant who alleges that he was brought within United States' jurisdiction illegally or as result of fraud or mistake, 28 A.L.R. Fed 685.

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