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(State) Habeas Corpus – Generally

State ex rel. Fuentes v. Wisconsin Court of Appeals, 225 Wis. 2d 446, 593 N.W.2d 48 (1999)
For Fuentes: Robert T. Ruth


¶6. The availability of habeas corpus relief arises out of the common law and is guaranteed by both the state2 and federal3 constitutions as well as by statute.4 Although a habeas corpus petition normally arises out of criminal proceedings, it is a separate civil action founded upon principles of equity. State ex rel. Korne v. Wolke, 79 Wis. 2d 22, 26, 255 N.W.2d 446 (1977); State ex rel. Durner v. Huegin, 110 Wis. 189, 220, 85 N.W. 1046 (1901). This foundation empowers a court of equity to tailor a fair and just remedy to the given factual circumstances provided that the remedy does not itself violate the constitution. State v. Knight, 168 Wis. 2d 509, 520-21, 484 N.W.2d 540 (1992); State ex rel. Memmel v. Mundy, 75 Wis. 2d 276, 288, 249 N.W.2d 573 (1977).

¶7. Habeas corpus provides extraordinary relief and is available only where specific factual circumstances are present. First, the party seeking habeas corpus relief must be restrained of his or her liberty. See State ex rel. Hake v. Burke, 21 Wis. 2d 405, 124 N.W.2d 457 (1963); State ex rel. Wohlfahrt v. Bodette, 95 Wis. 2d 130, 132-33, 289 N.W.2d 366 (Ct. App. 1980). Second, the person’s restraint must have been imposed by a tribunal without jurisdictional power over the person or subject matter, or the restraint must have occurred contrary to constitutional protections. State ex rel. Warrender v. Kenosha County Court, 67 Wis. 2d 333, 339, 231 N.W.2d 193 (1975); Wolke v. Fleming, 24 Wis. 2d 606, 613-14, 129 N.W.2d 841 (1964); Edwin E. Bryant, 9 Wisconsin Pleading and Practice § 84.03, p. 223-24 (3d ed. 1998). Third, the person improperly restrained must have no other adequate remedy available in the law. State ex rel. Dowe v. Waukesha County Circuit Court, 184 Wis. 2d 724, 729, 516 N.W.2d 714 (1994) (collecting cases).


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