28 U.S. Code § 2244 - Finality of determination
(a) No circuit or district judge shall be required to entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus to inquire into the detention of a person pursuant to a judgment of a court of the United States if it appears that the legality of such detention has been determined by a judge or court of the United States on a prior application for a writ of habeas corpus, except as provided in section 2255.
(1) A claim presented in a second or successive habeas corpus application under section 2254 that was presented in a prior application shall be dismissed.
(2) A claim presented in a second or successive habeas corpus application under section 2254 that was not presented in a prior application shall be dismissed unless—
(A) the applicant shows that the claim relies on a new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was previously unavailable; or
(i) the factual predicate for the claim could not have been discovered previously through the exercise of due diligence; and
(A) Before a second or successive application permitted by this section is filed in the district court, the applicant shall move in the appropriate court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider the application.
(B) A motion in the court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider a second or successive application shall be determined by a three-judge panel of the court of appeals.
(C) The court of appeals may authorize the filing of a second or successive application only if it determines that the application makes a prima facie showing that the application satisfies the requirements of this subsection.
(D) The court of appeals shall grant or deny the authorization to file a second or successive application not later than 30 days after the filing of the motion.
(c) In a habeas corpus proceeding brought in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court, a prior judgment of the Supreme Court of the United States on an appeal or review by a writ of certiorari at the instance of the prisoner of the decision of such State court, shall be conclusive as to all issues of fact or law with respect to an asserted denial of a Federal right which constitutes ground for discharge in a habeas corpus proceeding, actually adjudicated by the Supreme Court therein, unless the applicant for the writ of habeas corpus shall plead and the court shall find the existence of a material and controlling fact which did not appear in the record of the proceeding in the Supreme Court and the court shall further find that the applicant for the writ of habeas corpus could not have caused such fact to appear in such record by the exercise of reasonable diligence.
(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation period shall run from the latest of—
(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
Source(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 965; Pub. L. 89–711, § 1,Nov. 2, 1966, 80 Stat. 1104; Pub. L. 104–132, title I, §§ 101, 106,Apr. 24, 1996, 110 Stat. 1217, 1220.)
Historical and Revision Notes
This section makes no material change in existing practice. Notwithstanding the opportunity open to litigants to abuse the writ, the courts have consistently refused to entertain successive “nuisance” applications for habeas corpus. It is derived from H.R. 4232 introduced in the first session of the Seventy-ninth Congress by Chairman Hatton Sumners of the Committee on the Judiciary and referred to that Committee.
The practice of suing out successive, repetitious, and unfounded writs of habeas corpus imposes an unnecessary burden on the courts. See Dorsey v. Gill, 1945, 148 F.2d 857, 862, in which Miller, J., notes that “petitions for the writ are used not only as they should be to protect unfortunate persons against miscarriages of justice, but also as a device for harassing court, custodial, and enforcement officers with a multiplicity of repetitious, meritless requests for relief. The most extreme example is that of a person who, between July 1, 1939, and April 1944 presented in the District Court 50 petitions for writs of habeas corpus; another person has presented 27 petitions; a third, 24; a fourth, 22; a fifth, 20. One hundred nineteen persons have presented 597 petitions—an average of 5.”
Senate Revision Amendments
Section amended to modify original language which denied Federal judges power to entertain application for writ where legality of detention had been determined on prior application and later application presented no new grounds, and to omit reference to rehearing in section catch line and original provision authorizing hearing judge to grant rehearing. 80th Congress, Senate Report No. 1559, Amendment No. 45.
1996—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–132, § 106(a), substituted “, except as provided in section 2255.” for “and the petition presents no new ground not heretofore presented and determined, and the judge or court is satisfied that the ends of justice will not be served by such inquiry.”
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–132, § 106(b), amended subsec. (b) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (b) read as follows: “When after an evidentiary hearing on the merits of a material factual issue, or after a hearing on the merits of an issue of law, a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court has been denied by a court of the United States or a justice or judge of the United States release from custody or other remedy on an application for a writ of habeas corpus, a subsequent application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of such person need not be entertained by a court of the United States or a justice or judge of the United States unless the application alleges and is predicated on a factual or other ground not adjudicated on the hearing of the earlier application for the writ, and unless the court, justice, or judge is satisfied that the applicant has not on the earlier application deliberately withheld the newly asserted ground or otherwise abused the writ.”
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 104–132, § 101, added subsec. (d).
1966—Pub. L. 89–711designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), struck out provision making the subsection’s terms applicable to applications seeking inquiry into detention of persons detained pursuant to judgments of State courts, and added subsecs. (b) and (c).