Being convicted of a crime does not necessarily mean that your case is over. There are many conditions surrounding a conviction that may give your defense attorney reason to believe that you should file for post conviction and appeals relief or even a federal Writ of Habeas Corpus. In some cases, your attorney may even seek relief on your behalf under one or more of these issues.
Appealing A Court Decision
Once a conviction has been handed down by the judge, the defendant has 45 days to file an appeal if they believe the outcome of the case was due to a problem with the trial. Your Pewaukee criminal attorneys will go over every aspect of the trial and look for issues that may have prevented the judge and jury from obtaining an accurate verdict.
Some of the issues that your attorneys will consider are:
- Improper admission of evidence or testimonies
- Improper use of expert witnesses
- Failure to suppress certain types of evidence
- Improper jury selection
- Jury bias or tampering
- Miranda violations
- Use of improper penalty enhancers
- Failure to provide exculpatory evidence to the defense
- Excessive sentencing or abuse of sentencing powers
- Bias or conflict of interests on behalf of the prosecution or the judge
- Breach of plea agreements
- Problems with initial arrest or complaint
- Problems with any paperwork filed with the court during the course of the trial
There are many other legal issues that your attorney will review surrounding your case. If any evidence is found that there were violations that could have led to a different outcome of your case, your attorney will file for an appeal.
The appeal process can be a lengthy process. Unlike a regular trial, the Appellate Court will review the appeal and decide if a hearing should be held. If the court decides to hear the case, the attorneys for both sides of the case will argue their sides of the case before the judges. Once arguments are heard, the panel of judges will give their decision.
The Appeals Court can send the case back to trial or uphold the lower court decision. If the lower court decision is upheld, the defendant has the right to request the State Supreme Court to review the case. Cases must be accepted by the Supreme Court, it is not a guarantee.
There are additional forms of post-conviction relief that your attorney may seek prior to filing an appeal. The State of Wisconsin encourages attorneys to file a Motion with the lower courts for a review prior to taking it to the Court of Appeals.
Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus
In some extreme cases your attorney may request a Habeas Corpus hearing in a federal court. Habeas Corpus is defined as someone being illegally detained in custody. Custody can be defined as serving time in jail, being institutionalized for medical reasons, or placed on probation or parole. Restrictions that cause a person to no longer to be able to “move freely” can be considered as unlawful detention.
A person can only file for a Writ of Habeas Corpus if they have already been convicted and are in custody due to a state ruling. If a person has already served their jail sentence, parole or probation they can no longer seek this type of relief.
The Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus asks the court to revoke the sentence because the final sentencing was illegal in the manner stated in the petition. The federal court will only accept these petitions if all other avenues of post-conviction relief have been exhausted at the state level.
A Petition for Habeas Corpus will ask the federal court to review the decision of the state court. The convicted person will be known as the Petitioner in this type of case and the case will be handled in Civil Court, not in Criminal Court.
The Petitioner has the duty to prove that they were wronged by the conviction and how this wrong was committed by the state. The Petitioner will also ask for some form of relief as a resolution to the problem. In most cases the Petitioner asks for a revocation of the sentence.
The outcome of a Habeas Corpus case usually stands as is and generally does not get appealed to a higher court. However, if an appeal is allowed, it will go to the U.S. Supreme Court for review if accepted.
Other Forms of Post-Conviction Relief
Anyone who has been convicted of a crime and has served their jail sentence may have one last form of post-conviction relief. Wisconsin law allows some people who have previously been convicted of a crime the chance to have their criminal record expunged.
Expunging your records seals your previous criminal record and it appears as if the crime and jail sentence never existed. This opportunity is not available for all types of crimes, but it is available for many. Most people are unaware that once they have “paid their debt to society” they can actually get a fresh start.
If you have recently completed your sentence, speaking with Pewaukee criminal attorneys may help you clear your record and get a fresh start.
Always Work With Your Attorney
Every criminal defense attorney will tell you that the most important thing that you can do when you have been accused of a crime is to seek quality legal representation and work closely with the attorney you choose. Your attorney can only build a good defense if they can rely on you to help them with all the relevant information they need to design your case.
Establishing a good working relationship with your attorney will also help if you need to seek post-conviction relief at a later time. Since no attorney can guarantee that their clients will not be convicted, having a good working relationship will allow your attorney to aggressively represent your case in the event that a conviction occurs.
Your criminal defense attorney will always have your best interests in mind, prior to the court case and afterwards if necessary.