Post Conviction Relief – ONE LAST CHANCE
by Shannon Padgett
The attorneys at Dale Carson Law represent clients in prison who have been convicted of crimes and are serving lengthy sentences. We often are hired by families and friends who want an attorney to look into their loved one’s case to see if there is anything that can be done to get the sentence reduced. Post-conviction relief motions are filed as a last-ditch effort after the defendant has exhausted all other appeals.
Most post-conviction relief motions fall under Rule 3.850 and Rule 3.800 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. Some common grounds for filing these motions are ineffective assistance of counsel, newly-discovered evidence, the plea was not freely and voluntarily made, double jeopardy issues, illegal sentence, the defendant was not advised of the consequences of the plea, and the defendant is subject to deportation due to the conviction.
The laws for post-conviction motions are complicated and make it difficult to win. The defendant must argue specific legal grounds in order to be successful. There are also deadlines to file these motions. It is possible to file after the statute of limitation expires, but it is more difficult to win.
Many “jailhouse lawyers” who claim to be paralegals will charge prisoners to write up the motions for them. This is a very bad mistake. A judge can dismiss the motion without a hearing if no legal basis exists to get a hearing. There is only one shot at post-conviction motions. If a defendant files one and it gets dismissed, he or she can’t file another one on the same basis. So it is very important to hire an attorney for these issues. Defendants have a much higher chance of getting a hearing and winning the motion if it is filed by an attorney.
Although these motions are hard to win, our firm has been successful in getting defendants’ sentences overturned or greatly reduced. It is worth the effort to hire an attorney review the case to see if any legal issues exist to help a defendant. Time is of the essence, so don’t delay.