Post-Conviction Advocacy: Fighting For Justice After a Conviction

After a judgment of conviction has been entered, the legal system offers several avenues to pursue post-conviction relief. Following a trial, these processes—which include habeas corpus petitions and appeals—are essential to maintaining justice and equity. While pursuing post-conviction relief can be financially challenging, resources are available to manage costs. These include pro bono assistance, public defenders, payment plans, and grants.

Post-Conviction Remedies

Whether you believe that the verdict in your case was wrong or that your sentence is unfair, several post-conviction remedies are available. These legal proceedings allow you to challenge your conviction or sentence, often based on new evidence or by raising constitutional issues that still need to be raised or resolved during the trial and appeal process. A successful motion for a new trial would compel the court to vacate the original judgment and hold a fresh retrial. This type of post-conviction relief can be particularly beneficial if you think that crucial evidence was improperly withheld or illegally admitted during your trial or if you have discovered new evidence since the original trial.

QNav can review your trial transcripts, gather and analyze additional evidence, such as forensic evidence or expert opinions, and collaborate with investigators and forensic experts to bolster your claim for post-conviction relief. They also know what it takes to win appeals and can develop a solid legal strategy for your unique situation.

Certificate of Relief from Disabilities

A certificate of relief from disabilities lifts mandatory employment, licensing, and housing bars that prevent many people convicted of a crime from finding work or living in the community. A closely related certificate, a “certificate of good conduct,” also allows prospective employers and licensing authorities to consider an individual’s conviction only after they prove rehabilitation. To qualify for a certificate, a person must have fewer than two felonies (two or more felony convictions stemming from one indictment count as one). Individuals can apply for a certificate at the time of sentencing by asking a judge, upon release from prison, or while on parole supervision by applying to the State’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. An attorney should be appointed to represent a person in post-conviction proceedings if they believe the case has merit. However, the person who applies for a certificate must pay their attorney to represent them on the application for a certificate of relief.

Financial Assistance

In cases where an offender faces significant financial hurdles to pursuing post-conviction relief, various resources can provide support. Pro bono legal assistance, public defenders, payment plans, crowdfunding, and grants are all options. It is essential to keep detailed records of all expenses related to a post-conviction case, as it may be helpful for tax purposes or to apply for financial assistance in the future. A skilled attorney can explore all avenues of possible post-conviction relief, including the opportunity to file a direct appeal and federal habeas corpus petition. In addition, they can pursue clemency or pardon processes through the Governor and President to obtain sentence commutations or complete dismissal. Sometimes, these processes can be more cost-effective than a traditional appeal. The National Post-Conviction Project is committed to promoting the recent bi-partisan First Step Act, which provides incarcerated survivors with more opportunities for rehabilitation and reforms draconian laws such as Three Strikes.

Innocence Claims

A person may be able to file a claim of actual innocence under state post-conviction procedures or federal habeas corpus. A convicted defendant must present credible and verifiable new evidence that shows they did not commit the crime for which they were convicted. This evidence must have been unavailable at their trial but does not necessarily need DNA testing.

You can submit a claim of innocence with the assistance of an accomplished lawyer. A complete comprehension of every aspect of this intricate process is necessary. It is essential to have a legal team that will guide you through each step, increasing the chances of success.

Suppose the Commission determines that a claim of actual innocence is meritorious. Under such circumstances, it will render a “view” and refer the matter (along with all documents and transcripts) for a hearing before a panel of three judges, none of whom will have had a significant role in the preceding case. The panel will review the evidence and find factual innocence or innocuousness.

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