Chicago Post-Conviction and Habeas Lawyer

The Law Office of Douglas B. Harper represents state and federal prisoners incarcerated anywhere, to win their freedom in post-conviction and federal habeas proceedings if they were wrongly convicted by a court located in Northeastern Illinois. These cases begin by filing an Illinois post-conviction petition or a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus. Both proceedings have the same potential to win a prisoner's freedom, but they are governed by different laws, different procedures, and different deadlines. The proceedings are complicated and should be handled only by experienced counsel.

The cases that we handle usually involve one or more of the following issues:

  • Newly discovered evidence
  • Perjured or coerced testimony
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel

As a former criminal prosecutor, and with training in handling complex litigation while he was a partner at a mid-sized Chicago law firm, Mr. Harper applies his experience to get results. In some cases, he is able to find evidence to prove that incarcerated prisoners are actually innocent.

If you came to this webpage looking for a lawyer to handle a direct criminal appeal, or an appeal from an unsuccessful post-conviction or habeas ruling, please refer to our appellate practice.

Illinois Post-Conviction Petitions

A post-conviction petition is a new case, filed in state court under the Illinois Post Conviction Hearing Act, to win the freedom of a prisoner convicted in state court. It complains about constitutional violations that occurred at the prisoner's state court criminal trial. It claims new evidence shows the prisoner was convicted in violation of constitutional rights.

The law office handles Illinois post-conviction proceedings for prisoners who were convicted in Cook County, and occasionally for prisoners who were convicted in other counties in northeastern Illinois including Will, DuPage, and Lake County.

Federal Petitions for Writ of Habeas Corpus

A federal petition for writ of habeas corpus is a new case, filed in federal court under federal law, to win the freedom of a prisoner convicted in state or federal court. It complains that the prisoner is being incarcerated illegally and was convicted in violation of constitutional rights.

The law office handles federal petitions for writ of habeas corpus for prisoners who were convicted either: (1) in state court in Northeastern Illinois, or (2) in federal court in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Read About Our Best Post-Conviction/Habeas Results

The Law Office of Douglas B. Harper has handled many different Illinois post-conviction and federal habeas cases in Chicago. These are some of our best results.

Innocent Man Serving a Life Sentence, Released From Prison on Successful Illinois Post-Conviction Petition

In 1983, David Fauntleroy was arrested for a murder he did not commit. Chicago police detectives working under Lieutenant Commander Jon Burge beat Mr. Fauntleroy with flashlights and took him to an undeveloped, wooded area in the middle of the night. They put a gun in his mouth and told him to say he committed the crime or else they would kill him. He gave the false confession. It caused him to be convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Over 25 years later, in 2009, Mr. Harper represented Mr. Fauntleroy in proceedings under the Illinois Post Conviction Hearing Act and won Mr. Fauntleroy's freedom. The court vacated Mr. Fauntleroy's conviction, dismissed all charges against him, and ordered his immediate release from prison. His release was reported across the country by various news agencies including Chicago Tribune which reported the following:

After serving 25 years of a life sentence in prison, David Fauntleroy was scheduled to be heading home Friday a free man....

Conviction out, man to walk free, Chicago Tribune, January 10, 2009, Chicagoland:12.

The Chicago Sun Times also reported Mr. Fauntleroy's release, publishing this article:

Another chapter in the alleged Jon Burge torture cases was closed Friday, when murder charges against a Chicago man who spent more than 25 years behind bars....

Charges against alleged Burge victim dismissed, Chicago Sun Times, January 11, 2009, Metro:13A

In the many years following his release, Mr. Fauntleroy has remained gainfully employed and happily married.

Other Internet Resources Related to Criminal Matters

If you came to this website looking for information about a minor criminal matter and you did not find what you were expecting, these resources may be helpful.

This link to Cook County Expungement & Record Sealing will take you to a website maintained by the Circuit Court of Cook County where you will find information on how to clear your record regarding minor traffic infractions and matters involving expungement.


New Contact Information

The Law Office of Douglas B. Harper Two Prudential Plaza 180 N. Stetson Avenue, Suite 3500 Chicago, Illinois 60601‑6769 New Cases: (312) 214-7040 Main: (312) 214-2454 Fax: (312) 212‑4102


If you request a free consultation, please tell us: (1) your name and phone number, (2) the date and place where the event happened, (3) the names of the people and businesses involved, and (4) a a short description of what happened to you. Please do not send documents and do not provide confidential details unless you are asked to do so.