Rule 23. Custody or Release of a Prisoner in a Habeas Corpus Proceeding
(a) Transfer of Custody Pending Review. Pending review of a decision in a habeas corpus proceeding commenced before a court, justice, or judge of the United States for the release of a prisoner, the person having custody of the prisoner must not transfer custody to another unless a transfer is directed in accordance with this rule. When, upon application, a custodian shows the need for a transfer, the court, justice, or judge rendering the decision under review may authorize the transfer and substitute the successor custodian as a party.
(b) Detention or Release Pending Review of Decision Not to Release. While a decision not to release a prisoner is under review, the court or judge rendering the decision, or the court of appeals, or the Supreme Court, or a judge or justice of either court, may order that the prisoner be:
(1) detained in the custody from which release is sought;
(2) detained in other appropriate custody; or
(3) released on personal recognizance, with or without surety.
(c) Release Pending Review of Decision Ordering Release. While a decision ordering the release of a prisoner is under review, the prisoner must—unless the court or judge rendering the decision, or the court of appeals, or the Supreme Court, or a judge or justice of either court orders otherwise—be released on personal recognizance, with or without surety.
(d) Modification of the Initial Order on Custody. An initial order governing the prisoner's custody or release, including any recognizance or surety, continues in effect pending review unless for special reasons shown to the court of appeals or the Supreme Court, or to a judge or justice of either court, the order is modified or an independent order regarding custody, release, or surety is issued.
(As amended Mar. 10, 1986, eff. July 1, 1986; Apr. 24, 1998, eff. Dec. 1, 1998.)
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1967
The rule is the same as Supreme Court Rule 49, as amended on June 12, 1967, effective October 2, 1967.
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1986 Amendment
The amendments to Rules 23(b) and (c) are technical. No substantive change is intended.
Committee Notes on Rules—1998 Amendment
The language and organization of the rule are amended to make the rule more easily understood. In addition to changes made to improve the understanding, the Advisory Committee has changed language to make style and terminology consistent throughout the appellate rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only.
Subdivison (d). The current rule states that the initial order governing custody or release “shall govern review” in the court of appeals. The amended language says that the initial order generally “continues in effect” pending review.
When Rule 23 was adopted it used the same language as Supreme Court Rule 49, which then governed custody of prisoners in habeas corpus proceedings. The “shall govern review” language was drawn from the Supreme Court Rule. The Supreme Court has since amended its rule, now Rule 36, to say that the initial order “shall continue in effect” unless for reasons shown it is modified or a new order is entered. Rule 23 is amended to similarly state that the initial order “continues in effect.” The new language is clearer. It removes the possible implication that the initial order created law of the case, a strange notion to attach to an order regarding custody or release.