Henak Law Office, S.C.
  Criminal Appeals, Post-Conviction Remedies, Federal Habeas Corpus

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United States Supreme Court Review

Once a defendant has been denied relief by the Wisconsin Supreme Court or by the federal Court of Appeals, he or she has the option of seeking review by the United States Supreme Court through a petition for a writ of certiorari. Essentially, this is a petition asking the Supreme Court to order the lower court to certify the record to it for review.

Whether to seek such review requires consideration of a number of factors. First, since the Supreme Court gets to choose which cases to hear, and because it receives thousands of requests every year, it is very picky about the cases it decides to review. To have any chance of success, therefore, the issue(s) presented must have nationwide impact and must have resulted in conflicting opinions by the lower courts. Even then, the chances of the Supreme Court granting cert are extremely slim.

Second, the issues presented for review must be federal constitutional issues. Issues of state law will not be decided by the United States Supreme Court. Third, the petition for a writ of certiorari must be filed within 90 days of the lower court's decision.

Finally, the cost of filing a cert petition is quite high. The filing fee itself is currently $300, and the Court requires the petition to be printed in a special booklet format that can cost up to $500 or more. Add to that the attorney time necessary for drafting a petition on why the Supreme Court should hear the case, and you can spend a lot of money for very little chance of the Court granting review. Of course, in the unlikely event that the Supreme Court does grant review, the costs and expenses in attorney time researching, briefing, and arguing the case would be even higher (although at that point, the cost might be more worth it to someone whose freedom is at stake).

Forms and instructions for filing a petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court are available on the Supreme Court's website (www.supremecourtus.gov/casehand/casehand.html).
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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