Abuse-of-the-Writ Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Abuse of writ doctrine is a principle that says a petition for a writ of habeas corpus may not raise claims that should have been raised previous petition, but were not.

Abuse of the writ doctrine generally prohibits subsequent consideration of claims not raised, and thus defaulted, in a prior federal habeas proceeding. 28 USCS 2244(b), added by Congress in 1966, establishes a qualified application of the doctrine of res judicata by providing that a federal court need not entertain a second or subsequent habeas petition unless (1) the subsequent petition alleges a new ground, factual or otherwise, and (2) the petitioner satisfies a judge that the petitioner did not deliberately withhold the ground earlier or otherwise abuse the writ. If the petitioner meets these two conditions, the federal court must consider the subsequent petition as long as other habeas errorssuch as nonexhaustion or procedural default are not present.[McCleskey v. Zant, 499 U.S. 467 (U.S. 1991)]