We have filed an amicus brief asking the North Carolina Supreme Court to recognize that incarcerated people can use habeas corpus to obtain relief from unconstitutional living conditions. Habeas corpus is a centuries-old legal remedy that lets people challenge a wide variety of unlawful restraint. 

This case involves an incarcerated person who filed a habeas petition in 2020, claiming that exposure to COVID-19 in prison imposed cruel and unusual punishment. The trial court denied the petition. The North Carolina Court of Appeals then reversed; relying on its cases dating back almost fifty years, it held that habeas can provide a remedy for constitutional violations even when someone is otherwise lawfully incarcerated. At the State's request, the North Carolina Supreme Court decided to review this decision.

Our brief explains why the Court of Appeals was correct. We also highlight the increased vulnerability that people with disabilities face in prison, and why the prompt remedy of habeas corpus can provide them critical protection. 

Date filed

June 2, 2023


Supreme Court of North Carolina