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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 118104
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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Please tell me how my son would apply for a Writ to appear

Customer Question

Please tell me how my son would apply for a Writ to appear in court in Hennepin County, Minnesota. he is currently incarcerated in one county and has a traffic court appearance in another county. He is not allowed to be furloughed for the court appearance and was told that he should apply for a writ. Please tell us the steps involved to obtain a writ. Thank you.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
Hello Jacustomer,

A write of habeas corpus is a very special remedy that would be designed to get an inmate who is beiing wrongfully held before the judge. It's not generally something that an inmate should file for himself, as if he's represented by counsel, the court will not look at it.

If he's concerned about his court appearance he can contact his lawyer and let it be known that he is being held in another jurisdication. That would prevent a warrant from issuing on the out of county matter, and his production there could be worked out by all parties.

If he has no lawyer you or someone else can call the court and make sure that they know that he is in jail in another county. Again, that should stop the possibility of a warrant and could help expedite his production in the other count.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No, I'm sorry, but that is not the case here. I did tell them that he is being held in another county and they said that is too bad. There was already a bench warrant against him because he missed the court date so they now issued another bench warrant. Telling them that he is being held in another county does not stop the process. Their response is that if he cannot appear, then they will pick him up as soon as he is released this fall in the other County and bring him in on this new warrant. That is what we are trying to avoid. The jail told me that he would have to apply for a writ for the other county to come and pick him up for the new court date, and that is what I am asking - how does he apply for it?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.

I'm sorry for the delay, but I took a break to get some lunch. Some courts are more cooperative than that, and I am sorry to hear that they wouldn't vacate the warrant.

While I know what you are trying to accomplish, realistically speaking it's unlikely to work. THey are not likely to give him up where he presently is, because once he's gone, they won't get him back, and it will only be the same situation in reverse.

In any case, Minnesota publishes a guidebook for state prisoners who want to bring a writ. It is designed for inmates and should take him state by state through the process. (See link)

Should this not work, in my experience the worst case scenario is usually that at the end of this case, the inmate will be brought in on the other. The warrants would be vacated, the lawyer would make the record and he would be sentenced in the other jursidiction to either concurrent time, with credit given for his time already served while in the other county, or, if he gets released on his present matter he could get credit for time already served.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I was asking for assistance in how to file a writ to get out of jail in one county only to appear in court in another county. Is that not the correct terminology? I am not looking to dispute anything, but you sent a link for a 50-page document and it doesn't seem as though that is what we need. Or if it is what we need, are you not able to give us a shorter description of what he needs to do or do we just need to read and understand all of that?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.

Initially, I told you that what you were asking for was something that really should be done by a lawyer. I gave you what I found available on the web, which was developed to be used by inmates.

I'll opt out in case someone else has something better, but that was the only how to guide along those lines that I could find.

Good luck!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
I am sorry, your previous expert has opted out, but she was 100% correct in what she has provided you. Unfortunately, a limitation of this service is that we are forbidden from engaging in any actions that could be considered a practice of law, so we cannot assist you in filing the motion or writing the motion and the booklet she provided you is as close as we can legally get with you without crossing that line. I thank you for understanding that.

With that said, if your son is in jail, there is another option available to him and that is hiring an attorney to appear in the other county for him on his court date and represent him there in absentia, meaning he would waive his actual appearance in Hennepin County for the purpose of that hearing and have an attorney appear there for him to represent him. If you cannot afford an attorney to represent him to do this, then you need to contact the public defender's office in Hennepin to see if they would be willing to take on the case under these circumstances.

However, the other attorney was correct in that the court has the discretion in these matters and if Hennepin is not cooperative with this, then he would not get any motion to allow him to appear approved, since it would require the law enforcement officials in the county he is now in to transport him to Hennepin and for a traffic court appearance they are not going to be willing to incur the costs of doing this and run the risk that Hennepin could refuse to release him back to them.

I hope you found my answer helpful, but please understand that if you did not get all of the information you may have wanted to use the REPLY button and we are happy to continue working with you.

If you have additional questions, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.

Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.


There can also be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break.

You can always request me through my profile at or beginning your question with “For PaulMJD…”

Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 118104
Experience: Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
Law Educator, Esq. and 6 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I still think that you are not understanding what we need. All I asked is how to file a writ for him to get out and appear in the other county's court. What she sent to me was not right - that was for filing a writ of habias corpus. That is not what I wanted. I know that some of the other inmates have just filed a writ themselves to appear in the other court and I can't seem to find anyone who will help us understand how to file the writ.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
Hello Jacustomer,

Actually, we do understand what you mean. You don't seem to understand that filing a paper is not going to make the department of Corrections automatically move your son. He has to be brought before the judge where he presently is, the matter of why he should be transported tp Hennepin at this time would have to be argued, and then, if he prevails at that hearing, the judge would order Corrections to move him.

The appropriate writ to get an inmate who believes he is being wrongfully detained before the judge is a habeas.

Call the public defender's office in Hennepin County and ask them what to file. If there's something else that's used in your state that inmates regularly do in this situation, they will be able to tell you what it's called and may even have a template your son can use.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So if he needs to be brought up before the judge in the county in which he is currently held, how does he go about doing that? He can't just ask to go before the judge, there must be something to file. He is not being wrongfully detained.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.

We''ve now made a complete circle. He needs a writ of habeas corpus to get himself before the judge. He's being detained in the one county which is keeping from getting him to the other county. He's asking to be released to the other county. Once it's filed, he comes before the judge where he is, and he gets a hearing on the issue. If the judge agrees that he should go to the other country, he can order that.

So he needs to do a writ to get himself before the judge, unless he has a lawyer, If he has a lawyer in the county where he is now, the judge will not even consider his writ unless his lawyer adopts it as his own.

We experts here are not allowed to draft the writ for your son. That would be representation, and our customers here cannot be our clients. The best I could do was to give him something to use as a guide. To find something less confusing he could look in the prison library or you could see if the local public defender's office has a model that's easier to work from. I'd like to be able to help more, but there's nothing further I can offer him. I must abide by the terms of service for experts here at JustAnswer.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I guess what I was looking for was something like this "Writs and Orders of Transportation", but didn't quite understand it and though I could "David" could just file a writ himself (pro se)? No?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.

Yes. If a defendant has no lawyer he can draft and fle his own paperwork. But what you missed is that even the Order of Transportation starts off with a writ of habeas corpus. (That's why all references are to a Writ/Order). The writ gets him before the judge so that the judge can grant the order. Otherwise, your son has no authority to order his own transportation. He only has the authority to file the papers so that a judge may choose to do it..

Generally jails/prisons have a library since a pro se law section since many defendants use the time on their hands to appeal their sentences or file other petitions. There are usually also "jailhouse lawyers." These are not licensed attorneys (not usually anyhow) but inmates of all backgrounds who have experience with these forms and can pitch in with some help. Likely there will be simpler habeas orders there he can model his own after. I gave you the only writ manual available on the web. I know it can be a great deal less elaborate too, depeding upon the court, but I cannot find one for you. I'm sure there will have to be one in-house though. Inmates file them all the time.