Pennsylvania’s Post Conviction Relief Act

One of the most frequent statements heard by veteran Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers is, “I wish I had hired you sooner.” An inexperienced client may have hired a lawyer who goes into trial unprepared, does not litigate necessary motions, fails to ask appropriate questions of government witnesses, and does not object to improper evidence at the appropriate times.

Errors like these by defense counsel can easily lead to an improper conviction. After being convicted in these circumstances, defendants often ask what can be done.

The Right to Counsel

The United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions both guarantee the right to counsel during criminal proceedings. Implicit in that right is a guarantee to effective counsel, meaning a lawyer who handles a case as a professional and prepared lawyer would.

In order to fulfill these obligations, both the federal and Pennsylvania courts have the ability to review a criminal proceeding to ensure that defense counsel did not fall below a standard level of performance expected of him in his field. If the court determines that an error was made and that it likely affected the outcome of the case, a new trial may be warranted.

We Are Here to Help

The criminal defense lawyers at Law Offices of Lloyd Long have significant experience litigating post-conviction relief petitions in both the state and federal courts in Pennsylvania.

In these matters, a fresh set of eyes may be able to discover an error committed by a prior attorney, whether it occurred at trial, plea proceedings, motions hearings, or whether a claim should have been raised on appeal but was inexplicably left out.

In many, but not all, circumstances, these proceedings are the final opportunity for a convicted individual to secure a new trial. When the stakes are this high, it is of the utmost importance to hire lawyers who are familiar with such a highly specialized practice.


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