Understanding Post-Conviction and Coram Nobis Relief in Maryland
If you or someone you love have been convicted of a crime, sentenced and have lost on direct appeal, you still have the right to file for Post Conviction or Coram Nobis relief to attempt a obtain a New Trial, a reduced sentence or perhaps even an outright dismissal of the case.
Post-conviction relief is always a complex and difficult undertaking. Trust the team at Houlon Berman, who have practiced in the Rockville and Greenbelt areas for over 40 years, to handle your post-conviction or Coram Nobis relief matter in Maryland.
What is Post-Conviction and Coram Nobis Relief?
Post-conviction and Coram Nobis are collateral attacks at the underlying conviction through the claim that there has been some Constitutional violation not considered on Appeal or some other irregularity in the trial/plea process. Post-conviction can always be pursued upon conviction after trial and appeal and many times may be available after a guilty plea. The goal is to obtain a reversal of conviction, a new trial, or a reduced sentence.
Who Can File for Post-Conviction Relief and Under What Circumstances?
To be eligible to file for post-conviction relief in Maryland, an individual must have either pled guilty to or been convicted of a crime. He must also:
- Currently be serving a sentence
- Be on parole or probation as a result of a conviction
An individual must file for post-conviction relief within 10 years of his sentencing date if he was sentenced on or after October 1, 1995. Missing this deadline can cost you the opportunity to apply for post-conviction relief from a conviction.
There are a wide range of arguments and issues to be raised as bases for post-conviction relief. In general, these include errors and mistakes made by the attorneys which are not addressable on direct appeal. Specific grounds may include:
- Ineffective assistance of trial or appellate counsel
- Inadequate guilty plea proceedings
- Unlawful withholding of favorable evidence by the case prosecutor
- Newly discovered evidence
- Many others limited only by the creativity of your post-conviction counsel
If your attorney can prove that your case was influenced by any of the above circumstances, you could be eligible for one of several post-conviction relief remedies.
Who Can File for Coram Nobis Relief and Under What Circumstances?
Coram Nobis relief is available to make the same kinds of argument for reversal of conviction based on some form of violation of Constitutional Rights after a conviction is final, your sentence has been completed and you are no longer on parole or probation. However, you must be able to prove that you are enduring some sort of ongoing collateral consequence from your conviction in order to support a Petition for Coram Nobis relief. Examples include inability to get a job, obtain a lease for an apartment or facing immigration consequences such as deportation.
Steps of the Post-Conviction Relief Process in Maryland
If you believe you could be eligible for post-conviction relief, it’s essential that you hire an experienced and competent attorney who knows specifically how to handle post-convictions Coram Nobis matters.
Each case is unique, but the general steps of the post-conviction relief Coram Nobis process are as follows:
- Your attorney will re-investigate your case by reviewing transcripts, your previous lawyer’s files, discovery, and evidence that is related to the case and trial and conduct legal research on the issues identified.
- Your attorney then files a formal petition with the court that explains why you are seeking relief
- A prosecutor will to respond to the petition
- The Court will hold an evidentiary hearing. In this hearing, evidence from the case will be presented, witnesses such as your trial lawyer and perhaps a qualified expert witness might be called to testify, and legal argument before the Judge will take place. There is no jury involved.
Having an experienced attorney makes all the difference in post-conviction cases. A knowledgeable attorney can effectively review case transcripts and records for errors, and recognize which errors are likely to prevail on a petition for post-conviction relief.
The right lawyer can also conduct thorough legal research to ensure that all pertinent information is presented at your hearing. Our attorneys have successfully handled post-conviction and Coram Nobis relief cases, ensuring that our clients receive the justice they deserve.
Potential Outcomes of Post-Conviction and Coram Nobis Relief in Maryland
There are several potential outcomes of post-conviction relief:
- Reversal of conviction and a new trial
- A new sentence
- A reduced sentence
- Permission to file belated post-trial motions, such as a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence
Each of these outcomes have the potential to change your life. You could have the opportunity to have your case heard again or have your sentence altered.
Contact Houlon Berman
If you believe your case may be eligible for post-conviction or Coram Nobis relief in Maryland, call Houlon Berman’s attorneys today. Our knowledgeable team can navigate your case and work to get you the outcome you deserve. Don’t risk your freedom.