Our Post Conviction Maryland attorneys are ready to help you. This is one of your last chances in the MD criminal justice system and we have 3 things you should know.
What are the Basics of a Post Conviction Maryland Case?
A Post Conviction petition happens after your plea or trial and also after you’ve tried unsuccessfully to appeal your Maryland criminal case. To be eligible for Post Conviction you must currently be a) serving a sentence or b) on parole or on probation for a sentence. (Uniform Post Conviction Procedure Act, Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure, §7-101).
You can pursue post conviction relief in the State of Maryland if you have been either convicted by a jury or judge after a trial or if you pled guilty. You are entitled to a hearing on your Maryland Post Conviction petition. (Uniform Post Conviction Procedure Act, Maryland Code,Criminal Procedure, §7-108).
Another crucial aspect is you won’t have the same judge who did your plea or trial. This is really important when trying to get a fair decision and a fresh set of eyes on your case.
Deadline for Post Conviction Lawyers in Maryland to File a Petition. You MUST file your petition for Post Conviction within 10 years of being sentenced.
How Can We Attack Your Conviction?
There are many ways to attack the fairness of your guilty plea or trial and pursue post-conviction relief. The first broad category is whether your attorney was effective in representing you.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. Maryland, like other states, considers the standard set forth in the United States Supreme Court case US v. Strickland. The basics of challenging the work of your attorney in your Post Conviction case is a two pronged question:
- Did your attorney’s performance fall below the acceptable standard for attorneys?
- If yes then did that poor performance affect the outcome of your plea or trial negatively?
You need to meet both of these prongs to successfully make a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel. Luckily, if there was more than one error made by your attorney a Post Conviction Maryland judge can consider all of the errors cumulatively to see if you deserve to have your conviction reversed.
Brady violations. Defense lawyers have to know that prosecutors and detectives hide evidence from the accused regularly. A Brady challenge can be made in your Post Conviction MD case based on the prosecutorial misconduct. The United States Supreme Court in Brady v. Maryland established that the government must turn over all evidence that might exonerate the defendant. The Supreme Court expanded those types of rights even more in the case of Kyles v. Whitney.
Under Kyles, exculpatory evidence includes evidence that provides grounds for the defense to attack the reliability, thoroughness, or good faith of the police investigation, to impeach the credibility of the state’s witnesses, or to bolster the defense case against prosecutorial attacks. Kyles at 442 n.134, 445-451 (1995).
Legal errors such as the lack of evidence for a conviction, failure to suppress evidence that is illegally obtained, or jury misconduct can be enough for starting the appeals process.
Conflict of Interest of Your Attorney. If your attorney had a conflict when he or she represented you in court that can be grounds to have your conviction reversed. In a recent Maryland Court of Appeals case, a conviction was reversed because the defense attorney had represented the cop in one of the defendant’s cases in a separate personal matter and never told his client!
Actual Innocence. Finally, you may raise an actual innocence claim. These are generally filed in a separate petition and require specific items to be included in the petition. Even if you don’t have any of these other challenges we can fight your case on the grounds that you actually did not commit the crime.
In addition to Post-Convictions, the most frequent tools used to remedy the wrongful convictions include Coram Nobis proceedings, Writs of Actual Innocence, and Writs of Habeas Corpus. These proceedings are used for people who are no longer serving a sentence, as well as when new evidence that proves the defendant is not guilty is discovered. Remedies may also include a new trial and a new sentence or a correction of the previous sentence.
How Does Our Firm Handle Post Conviction Maryland Cases?
Our Maryland Post Conviction Lawyers handle these types of cases in two steps.
- Preliminary Investigation of Your Post Conviction Maryland Case. When we first meet you we agree on a fee for review of your documents. That can include transcripts, interviews, discovery, etc. After we review all of these records we will schedule a long sit-down interview to discuss what we think about your potential Post Conviction claims you might make. If we do not think you have any issues of merit we will let you know.
- Gather Evidence, File Post Conviction Maryland Petition, and Hearing. The second stage is getting your petition ready, filing the petition, and then holding a hearing. A second fee will be required for this stage. The fees in each case can vary quite a lot because no two Post Conviction Maryland case is the same. The fees in your case will be based on: investigative work needed, how complicated the nature of the petition is, trips to the jail, etc. The fees for each stage will be based upon the volume of materials that need to be reviewed and, if the client is incarcerated, the time that will be necessary to travel to the place of incarceration and have a conference with the client.
Prior to these two stages, we do offer a free 30-minute consultation for Post Conviction MD cases.