Beyond appeal: Post conviction petitions in Ohio

There are things that can be done besides filing a direct appeal of your conviction.  The most prevalent of these is filing a post conviction petition pursuant to R.C. 2953.21.  This contains all the events and circumstances that occurred outside of the record.  The record being everything that was taken down by a court reporter …

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What happened to the criminal jury trial?

Our office goes to trial as much as anyone.  Which is to say sometimes it is difficult to find a jury trial.  This is a shame.  Is that because i want to play with someone’s life?  I want to hone my skills on someone’s liberty?  No.  The jury trial is the only measure by which …

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Our office has years of experience dealing with the parole board in both release hearings and clemency proceedings.   Our lawyers were part of the lawsuit that successfully sued the parole board to follow its own guidelines .

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Should I hire a lawyer for the appeal?

People will frequently ask whether or not they should hire an attorney for the direct appeal.  This is a difficult question for most families.  They have spent considerable money on the trial attorney and the case has not gone their way.  They also may not trust the system or lawyers, or both.  They may be …

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Too little, too late? This story illustrates the fragility of life and the lengths to which the state will go to keep its convictions.  Instead of writing a wrong, posthumously exonerating these men, they claim its moot.   Instead of admitting they were wrong, they hid behind procedural obstacles.

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First Video.

What is federal habeas?

28 U.S.C. 2254 allows a person in state custody to ask the federal district court to review decisions made regarding federal constitutional violations. It must be filed within one year of the conviction becoming final in the state court. The petition itself must contain all of the constitutional claims raised in either the direct appeal …

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When does it make sense to appeal your conviction?

When someone is convicted of a crime they have a great deal of emotions. They are angry. They are scared. They feel that the system may not have treated them fairly.  In our system, there is a mechanism for over turning a conviction and/or sentence. An appeal is filed within thirty days of the sentencing …

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How to find the right attorney

There is no magic answer to this question. The internet, television, and even lawyers themselves will talk about how they will fight for you. So it is difficult to tell which lawyer will fight for you. Ask the lawyer three questions: Ask if the lawyer has ever defended an unpopular client. Ask the lawyer if …

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Quick Answers

A common question. Most people are not sure if it is worth the cost to hire an attorney when they have a criminal case. They are hesitant to spend money when in some cases an attorney can be provided at no cost to them. When you hire an attorney you are buying that person’s undivided attention to your case.

Under absolutely no circumstances should you talk with the police. The police are trained to get the information they want from you. Everything you say will be twisted and manipulated to suit their goal-which is to lock you up. If the police want to talk with you, you are a suspect. If you are a suspect, odds are you aren’t leaving the police station.

Lawyers are prohibited by the Professional Code of Conduct from giving a client a second opinion. The reason for this is that the attorney-client relationship is so important that other lawyers should not be undermining the confidence a client has in his lawyer by giving a second opinion.

Normally in these circumstances I will charge a flat fee to review all of the documents, meet with the person and develop a game plan. This avoids the problem of charging a large fee and then finding out the course of action is not possible. This allows me to get up to speed on the case and develop the best course of action.

This is entirely up to you and based on your financial situation. There are a number of deadlines that you have to know about. The first is that the notice of appeal must be filed within thirty days of the sentencing entry. The second is that the petition for post conviction relief is due within one year of the transcripts being filed with the trial court. A habeas petition must be filed within one year of conviction being final. A conviction is final when the Ohio Supreme court has dealt with both the direct appeal and the petition for post conviction relief. If this deadlines are missed it is possible to overcome that but difficult.

Gerry Spence says: “Lawyers should be chosen because they can demonstrate a history rich in human traits, the ability to care, the courage to fight, the will to win, a concern for the human condition, a passion for justice and simple uncompromising honesty. These are the traits of the lawyer.”

If your lawyer is more concerned about the retainer than about you as a person, you do not have a good lawyer. If he/she is willing to go to battle while out-manned, you have a good lawyer. If he/she demonstrates compassion even when the rest of the courtroom is repulsed by the defendant, you have a good lawyer. If they tell the truth, even when it hurts. You have a good lawyer. Read more about this.

Reversals on appeals hover at about 3-5 %. That is very low. However, if you do not appeal you lost the ability to appeal your case to a higher court, which may reverse. If you do not lay the groundwork with an appeal, it is impossible to get relief later. If you do nothing you will be left with the same sentence and conviction. Read more about this.

Clemency is a request to the governor to extinguish your conviction. The case law states that it is like the conviction never happened. However, this does not seal your conviction or expunge it. Our Supreme Court has stated that in order for you to seal a record that has been pardoned, it has to be eligible under Ohio law.

Habeas corpus is one of the remaining holdouts in our criminal justice system from the Magna Carta. It is a civil action against the warden of the prison to force him to show that the person in his care is not being held in violation of his constitutional rights. The person requesting it must first have the state court review the violation and then the federal court will check the work of the state court. The state court’s analysis must be unreasonable for the great writ to issue. Read more about this.

Post conviction is a generic term for litigation that follows a guilty plea or a trial. It includes what is commonly known as the appeal. This is where you raise all of the errors that occurred on the record. The record includes all of the motions filed by your attorney and ruled on by the judge. It also includes everything that was taken down by the court reporter.

A petition for post conviction relief is a bit different than an appeal. It deals with things outside of the record. This means anything the prosecution may have done that didn’t make it into the record. This also means anything your lawyer didn’t do.

A motion for new trial is normally filed when newly discovered evidence is uncovered by an attorney.

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