Advisory Committee Notes
This rule represents a complete reorganization of the former rule. This rule also revises parts of the former rule dealing with habeas corpus and post-conviction remedies. The rule applies generally to proceedings that are necessitated by the absence of another plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the court. After the rule's introductory paragraph, each subsequent paragraph is intended to deal with a separate type of proceeding. Thus, subparagraph (b) deals with proceedings involving wrongful restraint on personal liberty other than those governed by Rule 65C; paragraph (c) deals with proceedings involving the wrongful use of public or corporate authority; and paragraph (d) deals with proceedings involving the wrongful use of judicial authority or the failure to exercise such authority. Paragraph (d) also deals with petitions challenging actions by the Board of Pardons and Parole and the failure of the Board to perform a required act. To the extent that the special procedures set forth in these paragraphs do not cover specific procedural issues that arise during a proceeding, the normal rules of civil procedure will apply.
This rule effectively eliminates the concept of the "writ" from extraordinary relief procedure. In the view of the advisory committee, the concept was used inconsistently and confusingly in the former rule, and there was disagreement among judges and lawyers as to what it meant in actual practice. The concept has been replaced with terms such as "hearing order" and "relief" that are more descriptive of the procedural reality.
Paragraph (b). This paragraph governs all petitions claiming that a person has been wrongfully restrained of personal liberty other than those specifically governed by paragraph Rule 65C. It replaces paragraph (f) of the former rule. Paragraph (b) endeavors to simplify the procedure in habeas corpus cases and provides for a means of summary dismissal of frivolous claims. Thus, if it is apparent to the court that the claim is "frivolous on its face", the court may issue an order dismissing the claim, which terminates the proceeding. Apart from this significant change from former practice, paragraph (b) is patterned after the former rule.
Paragraphs (c) and (d) replace paragraph (b) of the former rule. The committee's general purpose in drafting these paragraphs was to simplify and clarify the requirements of the preexisting paragraph.
Paragraph (c). Paragraph (c) replaces paragraph (b)(1) of the former rule. This paragraph deals generally with proceedings for the unlawful use of public office or corporate franchises. As a general matter, the attorney general may seek relief on grounds enumerated in the paragraph. Any other person, including a governmental officer or entity not required to be represented by the attorney general, may also seek relief under paragraph (c) if the person claims to be entitled to an office unlawfully held by another or if the attorney general fails to file a petition under paragraph (c) after receiving notice of the person's claim. In allowing appropriate governmental entities and officers to proceed under this paragraph, the rule eliminates a procedural barrier that previously prevented anyone other than the attorney general and "private" persons to seek relief. Although the rule removes the procedural barrier, it was not intended to modify the substantive rules that limit the authority or standing of any governmental entity or officer. Nor was the rule intended to modify the constitutional or statutory authority of the attorney general. Since paragraph (c) provides only a general outline of procedures to be used in such proceedings, litigants should look to the other rules of civil procedure for guidance on specific questions not covered by paragraph (c). In proceedings under this paragraph and paragraph (d), parties seeking temporary relief in advance of a hearing on the merits should comply with the requirements of Rule 65A.
Paragraph (d). This paragraph governs relatively unusual proceedings in which the normal rules of appellate procedure are inadequate to provide redress for an abuse by a court, administrative agency, or officer exercising judicial or administrative functions. This paragraph replaces subparagraph (2), (3) and (4) of paragraph (b) of the former rule. This paragraph allows the court wide discretion in the manner in which such proceedings are handled. Like the former rule, the scope of review under this paragraph is limited to determining whether the respondent has regularly pursued its authority.
These revisions harmonize parallel provisions of the rule and address technical problems relating to venue and the content of memoranda and orders in habeas corpus and post-conviction proceedings.
Paragraph (b). Changes to this paragraph affect the venue requirements for one category of extraordinary relief petition. The general rule established in the paragraph is that petitions governed by paragraph (b) must be commenced in the district court in the county in which the commitment leading to confinement was issued. Challenges to parole violation proceedings, however, should be filed in the district court in the county in which the petitioner is located.
Paragraph (c). The changes to this paragraph enlarge the discretion of the court in dealing with those petitions for wrongful restraint that the paragraph governs. In dismissing claims that are frivolous on their face, the court is relieved of the responsibility to state findings of fact or conclusions of law. This change harmonizes paragraph (c) with the parallel requirements of paragraph (b)(7) of the rule. Other changes allow the court more discretion in ordering a hearing concerning unlawful restraints. The remaining changes in this paragraph clarify the contents of pleadings and memoranda filed with the court.