Successive-Writ Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Successive writ doctrine is a principle of criminal law which states that a second or subsequent petition for a writ of habeas corpus cannot raise claims that were heard and decided on merits in a previous petition. The successive writ doctrine is embodied in 28 U.S.C.S. 2244(b), which provides 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 errors such as non exhaustion or procedural default are not present. This is also known as the abuse of writ doctrine.