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Post-Conviction Relief

Learn About Post-Conviction Relief from a Columbus, OH, Criminal Appeals Attorney

What is post-conviction relief?

This is a special kind of post-conviction appeal that focuses on the fairness and appropriateness of a sentence for a felony conviction rather than the criminal conviction itself. Evidence that was not available or not considered at trial forms the basis for a petition for post-conviction relief.

What can a request for post-conviction relief achieve?

A successful request for post-conviction relief gets the original sentence set aside. The appeals court will then either reduce the sentence itself or order the lower court to hold a new trial for sentencing purposes. Forms of relief include release from prison, ending house arrest, and lowering fines.

What grounds exist for seeking post-conviction relief?

Ohio law specifies that a person seeking post-conviction relief must first show that their treatment during an investigation, at trial, or following conviction violated their constitutional rights. Such violations can include being subject to racial prejudice, being coerced into pleading guilty despite being innocent, and not receiving competent representation from a defense lawyer. Examples of incompetent representation include not collecting or presenting evidence that proves the defendant innocent and improperly allowing the prosecutor to submit evidence a judge should have excluded.

In both Ohio and federal courts, a person can also ask for post-conviction relief on the following grounds:

  • The law used to charge and prosecute the person is unconstitutional.
  • The law used to charge and prosecute the person has been changed or removed. That is, the “crime” or sentencing authority no longer exists. Such grounds can apply for many people who received mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug violations.
  • The trial court lacked jurisdiction.
  • The original sentence exceeds the terms spelled out in the applicable statutes.
  • The original sentence has been served in full, but the person remains in prison or under some other penalty.
  • “Material facts” such as DNA test results, eyewitness testimony, or a confession from another person became available after the conviction occurred.

When can a post-conviction relief motion be filed?

Following a conviction, a defendant generally has the right to request a retrial to determine guilt or innocence. If that basic appeal also results in a conviction, the defendant and their Ohio criminal defense lawyer can pursue a direct appeal. Filing an initial post-conviction relief motion is usually permitted within a year after the transcript of a direct appeal decision becomes available. A denial of a request for post-conviction relief can be appealed.

What information must a petition for post-conviction include?

All the grounds and evidence showing that a sentence should be vacated or reduced must be submitted.

Having an experienced Ohio post-conviction relief lawyer assist with preparing the filing is essential. If an initial request to have a sentence set aside is denied, subsequent appeals for post-conviction relief can only include the arguments and facts presented the first time. Leaving any details out of the original petition can make receiving a fairer sentence at a later date impossible.

Columbus criminal appeals attorney April Campbell never wants to see people suffer under unjust, unconstitutional, and unfairly harsh sentences. Call her at (614) 356-8515 or connect with her online to discuss your need for post-conviction relief. A consultation will cost you nothing.