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    Philadelphia Post-Conviction Relief Lawyer

    Although a jury verdict of guilty can feel like the final nail in the legal coffin, it does not have to be the end. There are various opportunities for post-conviction relief, and our attorneys can help you.

    A common option for relief after conviction is a direct appeal. Defendants have a right to file a direct appeal, which may cover a whole host of errors from your trial. You might file a petition under Pennsylvania’s post-conviction relief act. This is less typical and more complex but worth discussing with your attorney. You can take your case to the federal level by filing a habeas corpus petition with the federal court. If you seek relief because prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence, we can help you get relief based on a Brady violation. How long it takes to get post-conviction relief depends on the legal avenues you pursue, but the process is usually not quick. Even so, it is best to speak to a lawyer about your situation as soon as possible.

    Ask our post-conviction relief lawyers at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long for a free evaluation of your case by calling (215) 302-0171.

    How You Can Continue Fighting Your Case Even After a Conviction in Philadelphia

    Criminal trials are not perfect. They are far from it, in fact. While strict legal procedures are in place to minimize mistakes, they still happen. Some mistakes are serious enough to change the outcome of a trial. If you believe something like this happened in your criminal trial, you can seek out options for post-conviction relief.

    Direct Appeals

    If you have ever watched a courtroom movie or TV show, you have likely heard about defendants filing appeals after a conviction. This almost always refers to a direct appeal. Defendants may take such appeals as a matter of right.

    According to 42 Pa.C.S. § 5571(b), a direct appeal usually must be filed within 30 days of the entry of the court order you wish to appeal. If you want to appeal a conviction, our post-conviction relief lawyers must file your direct appeal no more than 30 days after the final judgment.

    Bear in mind that certain courts might have their own rules about when and how an appeal may be filed. Appeals often climb up through numerous appellate courts. Talk to your lawyer as soon as possible to make sure your case is filed on time in whatever court is appropriate.

    Direct appeals may involve a whole host of possible legal errors. Evidentiary issues are common on direct appeal. You might have argued that prosecutors should not be permitted to use certain evidence because it was illegally obtained, but the court allowed it anyway. You can appeal that decision and hopefully get a new trial without the objected evidence.

    You can also appeal certain ways the court handled your case. For example, you might disagree with how the judge provided jury instructions, leading to the jury incorrectly reaching a verdict.

    Post-Conviction Relief Act Petitions

    When direct appeals have been exhausted, there might still be hope. Although less common, appeals under Pennsylvania’s Post-Conviction Relief Act may allow you to appeal a select few legal issues. This is considered a collateral appeal, as the issues in your petition might not be directly tied to your trial.

    One of the more common reasons for a PCRA petition is ineffective assistance of counsel. This comes up when convicted defendants believe their attorneys were so ineffective during their trials as to undermine the truth-determining process. The court might not have done anything wrong or made any errors, but you can still appeal.

    You might instead file a PCRA petition because of newly discovered evidence that would have changed the trial’s outcome if it had been available. This might include witnesses who were unknown at the time of trial despite your due diligence to find them. It might also include evidence that could not be verified due to technological restraints, like DNA evidence.

    Habeas Corpus Petitions

    With the help of our experienced legal team, you can take your appeal to the federal level. A federal habeas corpus petition may be filed under 28 U.C.S. § 2254. Such a petition may be filed when a defendant is held in custody in violation of their Constitutional rights. Essentially, the point of the petition is to determine if the government’s detention of someone is legal.

    A habeas corpus petition may be filed after someone is convicted, but it does not have to be. Many people file such petitions when they are held without bail before their trial. They also file habeas corpus petitions if they are being detained unlawfully after a conviction.

    Brady Violations

    In the case of Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court of the United States changed the legal landscape when it comes to how evidence is exchanged between prosecutors and defendants. During the discovery phase of a trial, the parties (i.e., prosecutors and defendants) exchange all relevant evidence. This is important so that defendants may build the strongest case possible and have a fair shot of standing up to the government.

    In Brady, the court decided it is a serious legal violation for prosecutors to withhold exculpatory evidence from defendants. Exculpatory evidence is anything that suggests the defendant might not be guilty. For example, prosecutors might hand over evidence of the defendant’s fingerprints found at the crime scene but withhold evidence of fingerprints of another suspect also found at the crime scene. This is very illegal and grounds for post-conviction relief.

    How Long Does it Take to Get Post-Conviction Relief in Philadelphia?

    The time it takes to complete post-conviction relief proceedings may vary based on the nature of your claims and petition. Many convicted defendants spend years moving from one appellate option to another until they find success. Others are fortunate enough to win their first appeal. Talk to our team about your appellate options to determine how long your case might take.

    Call Our Philadelphia Post-Conviction Relief Lawyers for Help Fighting for Your Good Name

    Ask our post-conviction relief lawyers at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long for a free evaluation of your case by calling (215) 302-0171.