Experienced Indiana Attorney For Post-Conviction Relief
If you have been found guilty of a criminal offense and sentenced, that does not necessarily mean your case is over. At Lipinski Law, we can help you explore your options for post-conviction relief.
Arie Lipinski is a highly-respected Indiana criminal defense and post-conviction relief attorney who represents clients throughout Indiana. For a free consultation with an experienced post-conviction lawyer, please call us in Indianapolis at 317-605-9223 or complete our contact form. We are here to help you.
Indiana Post-Conviction Relief Explained
A person who who has been convicted of a crime may have very few options to appeal the conviction or the sentence. While a direct appeal is the most common path, post-conviction relief may also be an option. Post-conviction relief is a legal process for challenging specific aspects of criminal trials or sentencing.
For example, in some post-conviction cases, new evidence that was not available during the trial may be presented to have the conviction or sentence vacated. IMPORTANT: This is not an opportunity to appeal the verdict itself. Rather, the post-conviction relief process is an opportunity to challenge certain aspects of the conviction or sentence. In fact, you may or may not have made a direct appeal before seeking post-conviction relief.
Direct appeal and post-conviction relief are similar in some ways but different in others. For example, there is a deadline for filing a direct appeal, but a petition for post-conviction relief does not have a deadline.
All grounds for post-conviction relief involve a claim that some part of the criminal court proceeding was unlawful or unconstitutional. Indiana law outlines multiple possible grounds post-conviction relief. Such grounds include:
- The sentence or conviction was not in accordance with Indiana’s laws.
- The sentencing court lacked proper jurisdiction.
- The sentence was incorrect in some other way. For example, the sentence exceeded of the maximum allowed under Indiana law.
- There is significant evidence that was not presented or heard previously, and this evidence can be used to overturn the sentence or conviction.
- The sentence has expired, or the defendant’s probation, parole or conditional release were unlawfully revoked.
- Another material legal error related to the sentence or conviction has occurred. This could include juror bias, perjury, DNA exclusion or ineffective legal counsel.
The rules for obtaining post-conviction relief are very strict and technical. If you intend to pursue post-conviction relief, we encourage you to contact us immediately. Do not try to navigate this process on your own. Our founding attorney Arie Lipinski can answer your questions and assess your case to determine whether post-conviction relief is a possibility for you.
Let Us Help You Avoid Mistakes
A petition for post-conviction relief is the document that initiates post-conviction proceedings. The Indiana Judicial Branch has sample forms to help you request post-conviction relief. However, it is possible to lose your right to seek relief if you make even the slightest mistake when filling out or filing the forms.An error in the process could affect whether the court will even review your claims for relief. Following are some of the basic filing requirements:
- The petition must be filed with the court that entered the judgment of conviction, not the appeals court.
- The petitioner must file three copies.
- All claims for relief must be included in one petition. Failure to include a claim could result in the loss of the right to make such claims later.
You must also provide the court with relevant criminal case documentation when preparing a petition for post-conviction relief. A petitioner seeking post-conviction relief should, at minimum, collect and provide the following information:
- Information about the charging and any related filings
- Evidence and discovery from the criminal trial
- Motions and resulting orders of the criminal trial
- Official transcript of the criminal trial
- All relevant documentation from appeals is required if post-conviction relief relies on an element that is a direct appeal.
- Documentation of any events in criminal cases after trial
Obtaining these documents on your own can be expensive, time-consuming, and require special filings. Again, we encourage you to contact Lipinski Law to help you navigate this complex process. We have extensive experience in these matters.
Post-conviction relief petitioners must show that either they or their criminal defense lawyer asserted the basis for relief and that this occurred at trial or in another relevant proceeding. This proves that the defendant “preserved” the error for review as a basis for post-conviction relief.
Understanding The Post-Conviction Relief Process
If a criminal defendant fails to preserve the error in the trial court or in appeal, post-conviction relief will not be possible unless the petitioner can prove that ineffective counsel was the reason for the lack of preservation. At Lipinski Law, we can assess your case and determine which grounds for post-conviction relief are appropriate in your situation.After the petition for post-conviction relief is filed, the court may then set the matter for hearing. The petitioner or the state can request a summary disposition. That means the court can decide without holding a hearing, based solely on the evidence and arguments submitted. A hearing is when a judge hears the evidence and decides if relief should be granted. In any case, the petitioner must prove grounds for relief using a preponderance of the evidence.
Is It Possible To File A Subsequent Petition If The First One Is Denied?
A subsequent petition for post-conviction relief may be possible, but it is very uncommon for post-conviction relief to be granted after it has already been denied. The court must grant permission to file a second petition for post-conviction relief. In such a case, the petitioner could claim that an attorney filed the previous petition and that the attorney rendered ineffective counsel by leaving out one or more grounds for relief. If the Indiana Court of Appeals finds that the circumstances warrant it, the court may grant permission to file a subsequent post-conviction petition.
Habeas Corpus Proceedings
Habeas corpus proceedings refer to civil actions that are independent of but connected with underlying federal or state criminal litigation. Unlike a petition for post-conviction relief, habeas corpus proceedings cannot be filed to challenge a conviction or sentence. However, habeas corpus proceedings are filed in the county where the individual is incarcerated, and habeas corpus proceedings can seek to have that person released from unlawful custody.Habeas corpus relief covers federal violations and claims that should have been known or evidence found after post-conviction relief. Indiana Code 34-25.5-1-1, et seq. outlines the procedure for seeking relief from detention that is not covered by Indiana’s post-conviction proceedings. Federal law also contains habeas corpus statutes:
- 28 U.S.C. SS 2254, the collateral review statute for state prisoners
- 28 U.S.C. SS 2255 is the equivalent federal prisoner’s version
- 28 U.S.C. SS 2241 for habeas petitions concerning the loss of good credit in prison disciplinary proceedings
Federal courts often offer online access to forms for habeas corpus relief. However, like post-conviction relief claims, habeas corpus claims must be carefully written to avoid any mistakes. As with post-conviction relief petitions, habeas corpus proceedings are best navigated with the help of an attorney who has extensive knowledge and experience in these matters.
Contact Lipinski Law For A Free Consultation
For a free consultation regarding post-conviction relief in Indiana, please call Lipinski Law at 317-605-9223 or complete our contact form. Our founding attorney has extensive experience in matters of post-conviction relief and habeas corpus proceedings.