Georgia Post-Conviction Relief Lawyer | Appeals, Sentence Reductions, & Parole
Post-Conviction Relief Attorney
Post-conviction relief in Georgia can take several different forms. Do you need help with a sentence reduction/modification? Is a condition of your sentence and probation preventing you from working? Are you considering an appeal of your conviction? Do you want to know more about your habeas corpus right? A post-conviction relief attorney can help you with these issues.
A post-conviction relief lawyer is an attorney who represents individuals who have been convicted of a crime and are seeking to have their conviction overturned or the sentence modified. This type of lawyer may handle a wide range of legal issues, including:
- Appealing a conviction: If a defendant believes that their conviction was based on insufficient evidence, improper jury instructions, or other legal errors, they may seek to appeal the conviction to a higher court. A post-conviction relief lawyer can help to identify legal issues to be raised on appeal and handle the appeal process.
- Seeking a new trial: In some cases, a post-conviction relief lawyer may seek a new trial for the defendant on the grounds that there was new evidence that was not available at the time of the original trial or that there were legal errors that resulted in an unfair trial.
- Seeking a sentence modification: A post-conviction relief lawyer may also help a defendant to seek a reduction in their sentence based on changes in the law or circumstances that have occurred since the original sentence was imposed.
- Seeking habeas corpus relief: In some cases, a post-conviction relief lawyer may seek relief through a writ of habeas corpus, which is a legal process that allows a person who is being detained to challenge the legality of their detention.
- Seeking pardons or clemency: In some cases, a post-conviction relief lawyer may help a defendant to seek a pardon or clemency from the state or federal government, which can result in the reduction or dismissal of the conviction.
It is important to note that post-conviction relief can be a complex and challenging legal process, and it is important to work with an experienced post-conviction relief lawyer who understands the specific issues and legal standards involved.
In some cases, a post-conviction relief attorney can assist you by attacking the pre-trial decisions by the trial court or by attacking errors made during the trial. An effort to challenge the validity of pre-trial rulings by the trial court, rulings made by the trial court, or ineffective assistance of claims against trial counsel typically takes the form of a motion for new trial or a direct appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals or the Georgia Supreme Court.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF RELIEF IN GEORGIA
However, post-conviction relief in Georgia need not necessarily be confined strictly to legal challenges involving rulings by the trial court or ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Often times, post-conviction relief involves efforts to obtain earlier release from the sentence originally imposed. Typically, a post-conviction relief in Georgia involves a dynamic strategy consisting of both efforts to obtain a new trial and efforts to modify the sentence imposed. Frequently, we make an effort to leverage legal issues that may result in a new trial to obtain a modified sentence. The effort to obtain post-conviction relief in Georgia need not be an all-or-nothing proposition.
If you are seeking post-conviction relief in the form of assistance in seeking parole from the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole, we may be able to help. If you have a question about post-conviction relief in Georgia, contact Sessions & Fleischman, LLC. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you.
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VACATING GEORGIA CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS TO HELP WITH IMMIGRATION PROCEEDINGS
Old convictions for any number of various criminal offenses in Georgia can cause real problems with immigration proceedings. Unfortunately, Georgia does not have a statutory provision the expungement of a criminal conviction after a period of time. If you are going to obtain relief from a Georgia criminal conviction that is causing concerns with immigration officials, you will likely have to get the conviction vacated. Sessions & Fleischman can help you.
Post-Conviction Relief In Georgia
If you thought that all attorneys were the same when you or your loved one hired a lawyer at the beginning of your criminal case, don’t make the same mistake in hiring a post-conviction relief attorney. All attorneys are not the same, and all attorneys will not commit the time and effort necessary to actually advance your post-conviction relief efforts.
Post-conviction relief in Georgia can take the form of many different processes and procedures. Post-conviction relief can take the form of an appeal from an adverse rule or verdict, a motion for new trial, a motion to lessen the sentence, or efforts to present more a more compelling case to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. What form post-conviction relief in Georgia takes is largely dictated by the alleged error, if any, committed by the Court or prior attorneys, the facts of the underlying case, our client’s background, and, of course, the goals of our client.
One of the foremost concerns/complaints expressed by clients and their families who have retained other attorneys for post-conviction relief efforts in Georgia is the lack of communication from the lawyers. This will not be a concern in your dealings with Sessions & Fleischman. We will promptly return your calls and provide you with updates regarding the efforts undertaken in your case. It must be understood that there can be substantial delays and times in which nothing seems to be happening in post-conviction relief matters in Georgia; however, at the very minimum, you and your family deserve to know what work has been done.
The motion for new trial is controlled by the requirements of OCGA 5-5-40.
Timing of the Motion for New Trial in Georgia
Do not leave the right to have a motion for new trial considered to the discretion of a judge. If you face a criminal conviction, you have the right to have a right to have a motion for new trial considered if the motion for new trial is filed within 30 days from the date of conviction.
A motion for new trial is a very flexible motion. The motion for new trial may be amended any time before a rule is entered.
The Motion for New Trial in Georgia Is Limited by the Willing of Your Attorney To Think Outside of the Box
The motion for new trial does not control the issues that may be raised on an appeal from a conviction or the denial of a motion for new trial in Georgia. Ineffective assistance of counsel claims, however, should be raised in a motion for new trial. It has been our experience that ineffective assistance of counsel claims afford an excellent opportunity to raise issues that might otherwise seem unlikely to prevail on an appeal.
An ineffective assistance of counsel claim must be made at the earliest possible time. Generally, the motion for new trial is the earliest possible time.
Commonly Asked Questions In Post-Conviction Relief Efforts
Can a motion for new trial be amended?
Yes, a motion for new trial can be amended. An amendment to a motion for new trial may be allowed at any time before the motion is finally disposed of. Tifton, T. & G. Ry. Co. v. Chastain122 Ga. 250, 50 S.E. 105 (1905).
Can I get a Georgia DUI Conviction Removed From my Record?
FAQ: Can I get a Georgia DUI conviction removed from my record? Under current Georgia law, once you are convicted of a DUI, that DUI will remain on your criminal and driving record for the rest of your life. There is not a procedure in our law that provides for the removal of a DUI conviction from your records.
Q: I refused to submit to the requested blood test after I was arrested. Will it be possible for me to keep my driver’s license? Let’s assume that you have a Georgia driver’s license. If you do not have a prior DUI conviction within the last 5 years, you will most likely be able to obtain a limited driving permit even if you are convicted of a DUI. However, there is some work that needs to be done. We can help.
Q: I refused to submit field sobriety tests. Can my license be suspended for that? No, refusal of pre-arrest tests (preliminary breath tests and field sobriety tests) cannot be used as the basis for an administrative license suspension.
Q: My case has been pending for longer than 2 years. Will the statute of limitations result in a dismissal of my DUI? If the case is pending, the statute of limitations has most likely been met. So, it probably will not result in a dismissal of your DUI. However, there may be other problems for the State, such as a violation of your constitutional right to a speedy trial.
Mutually Exclusive Verdict in Georgia Post-Conviction Relief
Determining whether the mutually exclusive verdict rule applies in a Georgia post-conviction relief case can be a difficult proposition. Criminal verdicts often appear inconsistent, and the mutually exclusive verdict rule is intended to protect the criminal defendant against verdicts that are truly contradictory. The Griffin case discussed below illustrates just how difficult mutually exclusive verdict issues are examined on appeal.
Following a jury trial, Lester Casey Griffin was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter based on misdemeanor battery as a lesser included offense of malice murder, felony murder, two counts of cruelty to children, aggravated battery, and aggravated assault.1 On appeal, Griffin contends that the resulting convictions must be reversed because the jury rendered inconsistent verdicts. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
Griffin v. State, No. S14A1485, 2015 WL 252009, at *1 (Ga. Jan. 20, 2015)
In his sole enumeration of error, Griffin argues that his convictions must be reversed because the verdicts were mutually exclusive. Specifically, Griffin maintains that the verdicts were inconsistent because the jury considered the blow to Dylan’s chest a misdemeanor for the purposes of the involuntary manslaughter verdict and a felony offense for the purposes of the felony murder verdicts. As a result, Griffin contends that all of his convictions must be reversed, see Jackson v. State, 276 Ga. 408(2), 577 S.E.2d 570 (2003), and that he should be granted a new trial. See Thomas v. State, 261 Ga. 854(1), 413 S.E.2d 196 (1992). We disagree.
“Verdicts are mutually exclusive ‘where a guilty verdict on one count logically excludes a finding of guilt on the other. (Cits.)’ [Cits.]” Jackson v. State, [supra, 276 Ga. at 410(2) ]. While guilty verdicts on involuntary manslaughter and felony murder are not mutually exclusive as a matter of law, Smith v. State, 267 Ga. 372(6), 477 S.E.2d 827 (1996), a mutually exclusive verdict may be rendered in a particular case where the offenses underlying the felony murder and involuntary manslaughter convictions “reflect that the jury, in order to find the defendant guilty [of both offenses], necessarily reached two positive findings of fact that cannot logically mutually exist.” (Citations and punctuation omitted.) Flores v. State, 277 Ga. 780, 783(3), 596 S.E.2d 114 (2004). A mutually exclusive verdict results when the jury finds that the defendant acted with both criminal intent and criminal negligence at the same instant regarding the same victim involving the same act. See id. (finding mutually exclusive verdict where appellant was found guilty of both felony murder based on aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter based on reckless conduct as to a single homicide victim).
Drake v. State, 288 Ga. 131, 133(2), 702 S.E.2d 161 (2010). Moreover,
if the predicate offense found by the jury for involuntary manslaughter was simple battery or battery, which are misdemeanor offenses committed with criminal intent, see OCGA §§ 16–5–23(a), 16–5–23.1(a), then the intent element of the battery offenses would be logically consistent with the mens rea required for the felony offense of cruelty to children on which appellant’s felony murder conviction is predicated. See OCGA § 16–5–70(b); Carter v. State, 269 Ga. 420(5), 499 S.E.2d 63 (1998) (involuntary manslaughter based on simple battery not inconsistent with felony murder based on cruelty to children).
Id. at 133–134(2), 702 S.E.2d 161.
This precedent controls the result in this case. In addition to involuntary manslaughter based on simple battery, Griffin was found guilty of felony murder predicated on cruelty to a child, felony murder predicated on aggravated battery, and felony murder predicated on aggravated assault.
Because the predicate offense for involuntary manslaughter was simple battery, it did not require proof of criminal negligence, and the intent element of simple battery was not at all logically inconsistent with the mens rea required for the greater offense of aggravated assault, aggravated battery, or cruelty to children.
(Citations omitted.) Waits v. State, 282 Ga. 1, 3(2), 644 S.E.2d 127 (2007). Accordingly, Griffin’s verdicts were not mutually exclusive, and his convictions must stand.
Griffin v. State, No. S14A1485, 2015 WL 252009, at *1-2 (Ga. Jan. 20, 2015).
If you have a question regarding an appeal from a criminal conviction in Georgia, contact Sessions & Fleischman at (470) 225-7710.
Can my Felony Conviction in Georgia be Removed From my Criminal History?
For some people, a felony conviction in Georgia may be removed from their criminal history. This is a remarkable change in the Georgia First Offender Act, which become effective on July 1, 2015. The provisions of this new law relating the retroactive eligibility of First Offender treatment state:
- First, the person must have been eligible for sentencing under the First Offender Act at the time he/she was sentenced;
- Second, the person must NOT have been informed of their eligibility for First Offender Act treatment at the time of the original plea;
- Third, the prosecutor must consent to the retroactive First Offender treatment;
- Forth, the Court may hold a hearing upon the petition; and
- Fifth, the person seeking retroactive First Offender treatment has the burden of proof.
O.C.G.A. § 42-8-66.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OBTAINING FIRST OFFENDER TREATMENT RETROACTIVELY IN GEORGIA
- It’s your burden of proof, so putting forward your best case on the 1st attempt is absolutely necessary. With each attempt to obtain consent of the prosecutor and/or judge, your probability of success will decrease.
- Real planning needs to go into the preparation and presentment of the case for retroactive First Offender treatment.
If you have been enduring life with a felony conviction on your criminal history from a Georgia criminal case, do not waste this opportunity. Consult and prepare the presentation of your motion with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Character witnesses matter. Presentation of the difficulties presented by a felony conviction matters. Plan and prepare carefully.