Service of Process
Writ of Habeas Corpus
A writ of habeas corpus orders the custodian
of an individual in custody to produce the individual before the court
to make an inquiry concerning his or her detention, to appear for
prosecution (ad prosequendum) or to appear to testify (ad
testificandum). State courts may issue such writs to prisoner
custodians to produce federal prisoners.
Service: The issuing court will
specify the party to execute the writ. The U.S. Marshal or Deputy U.S.
Marshal will do so if ordered to by the court. A copy of the writ may be
forwarded to the U.S. Marshal for information only even if he or she is
not ordered to execute it.
Return: The executing party will
make the return once the prisoner has satisfied the court-ordered
appearance(s) and has been returned to the original place of
incarceration. A partial return will be made when the custody of the
prisoner has been relinquished to another authorized party for further
State prisoners appearing before federal
court to satisfy a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum or ad
testificandum in federal criminal cases will remain in the U.S.
Marshal’s custody until the proceedings for which the writ was issued
conclude, if so ordered by the court. In cases where the Interstate
Agreement on Detainers Act applies, after the prisoner's appearance in
court, the court may order the prisoner to be returned to the state
custodian pending further court proceedings.
If the case is a federal criminal matter,
the USMS will provide for the transportation and custody of state or
federal prisoners whose production is commanded. If the writ is issued
by a state court, the state must provide for the transportation and
custody of the federal prisoner whose production it commands.
The state custodian is responsible for
production of its prisoner from the state institution, and this
responsibility cannot be shifted by the federal court to the USMS. (See
Pennsylvania Bureau of Corrections v. United States Marshals Service,
474 U.S. 34 (1985). State authorities should retain custody of
the prisoner within the federal courthouse and produce the prisoner
directly before the court each day of the proceeding and house the
prisoner for the duration of the proceeding.
Note: The information related to the service of
court process that is contained on this web site is general information
and not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive explanation or depiction
of Federal rules of procedures for the service of process.
Readers are directed to the Federal Rules of Criminal and
Civil Procedure; personal legal counsel; the United States Code, Titles 18 and 28;
U.S. Attorney's Office and District Court for
specific, authoritative guidance.