How Can You Challenge A Conviction?

How can you challenge their conviction after the trial and appeal is over? There are things that can be done to overturn convictions after all hope seems to be lost.

There are several grounds by which to attack a conviction. The most common three are:

  • Ineffective assistance of counsel (failure to call an important witness, failure to investigate the case, not relaying an offer that the defendant would have taken instead of going to trial, etc.)
  • Newly discovered evidence
  • Unconstitutionality of a statute

Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Claims

The most common is a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC). Defendants in criminal court are entitled to effective counsel, a guarantee made by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

IAC claims come in many, many forms. The essence of the claim is that the attorney did or did not do something that changed the outcome for the worse. Commonly, defendants have witnesses that they tell the attorney about and those witnesses are never investigated or called at trial. Other times, defendants find out long after the plea or trial that there was an offer that was made by the state that was never relayed to the defendant. Sometimes defendants claim that they were "strong-armed" into the plea by their trial attorney.

Newly Discovered Evidence

Newly discovered evidence is less common, and more complicated to rely on, in a 3.850 motion. If evidence comes about that the defendant and the attorney did not know about, and could not have known about, then it can be used to reopen the case. These situations are very limited, as it is uncommon that something will just come out of the woodwork after a trial.

Bodiford Law, P.A., had a successful motion based on newly discovered evidence a few years. Our client did not know that a witness had been coerced by the police and prosecutors' office until he had been in prison for several years. She only came forward after her husband was off of probation, and could not be violated (that was how she was threatened). We filed the motion with her sworn statement, and the judge found her to be credible. We were able to get a life sentence reversed.

Movement To Federal Court

In federal court, there are similar motions that can be filed: one for federal cases, and one for state cases that can be moved into federal court. The law is very complicated, and not every case qualifies for movement to federal court.

Contact Us To Discuss Challenging A Conviction

If you or your loved one believes that there was ineffective assistance of counsel or there may be newly discovered evidence, call Bodiford Law, P.A., for a free consultation at 850-222-4529 (for existing clients) and 850-583-7381 (for new clients), or contact us online.