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Post Conviction Relief

Conviction for a criminal offense does not have to be the end of your story. The U.S. Constitution, the Washington and California state constitutions, and other applicable rules of criminal procedure allow those who have been convicted of a crime to pursue post-conviction relief, which can come in the form of having a conviction reversed and/or a release from confinement. At The Appellate Law Firm, we represent those who have been convicted and believe they have grounds for reversing their convictions. Our team will scour the trial record and other factual matters – including new and/or previously undiscovered evidence – to present your best case for post-conviction relief.

Appealing Your Criminal Conviction

If you have been recently convicted of a crime, the appropriate action may be to appeal that conviction at either the Washington or California appellate courts if the conviction happened in state court, or at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals if the conviction occurred in federal court.

A convicted defendant generally has 30 days from the date of conviction in both Washington and California to file a notice of appeal. This notice does not need to include the full arguments to be made on appeal. If retained, the Appellate Law Firm will examine the trial record and look into other factual matters that may have bearing on your appeal to create your arguments for reversal at the trial level.

Common grounds justifying a criminal appeal include:

  • Failure to allow in certain evidence
  • Failure to prevent certain evidence from being heard
  • Violations of rules made by jurors
  • Inadequate counsel
  • Violations of a defendant’s constitutional rights made by law enforcement
  • Harsh sentences not supported by the facts or the law

Filing a Habeas Corpus or Personal Restraint Petition

If the time for appeals has run out, a wrongfully imprisoned person also has the right to pursue post-conviction relief under either a habeas corpus petition (applicable to federal and California prisoners) or a personal restraint petition (applicable to Washington state prisoners).

Both types of petitions are made on the grounds that it would be unconstitutional for the state to continue imprisoning a person due to some error that resulted in the wrongful imprisonment. The courts are often flooded with poorly written and/or argued petitions of this nature – generally written without the assistance of an experienced attorney – and thus it is critical to take necessary steps to make sure the best arguments in a prisoner’s favor are made and presented to the court.

The first step in working with our office will be to understand what grounds might exist for a successful habeas corpus petition or personal restraint petition. Such grounds can include:

  • The inmate did not have effective assistance of counsel at trial
  • The judge overseeing the trial made constitutional errors
  • Improper evidence was admitted against the defendant
  • Evidence was withheld by prosecutors
  • Jurors acted in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights at trial
  • Prosecutors violated the defendant’s constitutional rights
  • The court did not have jurisdiction over the defendant
  • The inmate was otherwise not provided constitutional rights to defend himself
  • New evidence has been found which points towards innocence
  • The prison conditions the inmate faces are unconstitutional
  • The inmate is being kept in prison past the time at which he should be released
  • The law which the defendant was accused of violating has been ruled unconstitutional

If such grounds exist, our office can present these arguments to the proper courts through either a habeas corpus petition or personal restraint petition. The court will give the government (either state or federal prosecutors) an opportunity to dispute the petition, and, if a hearing is granted, our office will then represent the convicted defendant in the hearing in support of the defendant’s release.

Contact Criminal Appeals Attorneys Today

If you believe you have been wrongly convicted, whether as a result of an unfair outcome in a state or federal criminal case or due to some other government action, you may be eligible to pursue post-conviction relief via an appeal, a habeas corpus petition, a personal restraint petition. The Appellate Law Firm is focused on the civil and criminal appeals process in Washington and California and in pursuing relief on behalf of wrongfully convicted and/or imprisoned inmates. Feel free to contact  us today for a no-obligation 30-minute consultation to discuss your circumstances.

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