Author: Federal Public Defender, CDCA

A 2255 petition may be filed by a person in federal custody to challenge a federal criminal conviction and/or sentence.  Unlike a 2254 petition, which challenges a state-court conviction and/or sentence, a 2255 petition is not limited to federal constitutional claims.  28 U.S.C. § 2255 provides that it may be used to raise claims that your sentence or conviction was unauthorized under any law of the United States...

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The petition may be filed on the form provided by the District Court. Copies of the form and instructions for filing can be obtained from the District Court’s website here.  The petition should be filed in the court of conviction...

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Yes, you have very little time to prepare your federal habeas petition. Generally, a 2255 federal habeas petition must be filed within a year after your federal conviction became final.  A federal conviction usually becomes final (1) on the date the United States Supreme Court denies a petition for writ of certiorari; or (2) if United States Supreme Court review is not sought, 90 days after the federal court of appeals issues its decision or denies rehearing.  Although there are some ways to toll the […]..

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Federal court is more formal than most state courts.  Suits, ties, and other formal wear are not necessary, but shorts, halters, tank tops, any clothing exposing the midriff or underclothing, beachwear, flip-flops, pool shoes, or t-shirts with inappropriate graphics or wording are not recommended...

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Yes. Family support of a criminal defendant is critical, and we strongly encourage family members to attend hearings of their loved ones.  However, family and friends may not speak directly to the judge unless they are asked to do so.  Audience members who are being disruptive will be removed from the courtroom...

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Visitors to the courtroom cannot speak or communicate in any way with a defendant in custody...

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Yes, but every effort should be made to keep young children quiet while court is in session. Some courtroom topics may be inappropriate for young children...

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Yes. Please remember to turn off your smartphone, tablet, smartwatches, and pagers before entering the courtroom. The use of cameras, camera phones, and recording devices inside the courtroom is prohibited. These rules are strictly enforced by the Court and the U.S. Marshals...

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When you enter the courthouse, you will go through a metal detector. Your handbag, briefcase, backpack, and any containers will be x-rayed, and you will be required to remove your shoes. Metal objects including knitting needles, scissors, nail clippers, pocket knives, and any kind of weapon, are not permitted and will be confiscated. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted. The use of cameras, camera phones and recording devices inside the courtroom is prohibited. Security officers may confiscate any items they think are hazardous. If you have […]..

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Central Violations Bureau (CVB) refers to those petty offenses (as defined under 18 USC 19) that occur on federal property, such as federal buildings, national parks, military bases, post offices, Veteran Affairs centers, Social Security Administration Offices, local national forests (i.e., Angeles Crest, Los Padres National Forest), and any other areas that are patrolled or under the jurisdiction of the federal government. In the Central District of California, CVB matters include violations occurring on Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), the Naval bases out of Ventura […]..

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