How Long Does This Whole Process Typically Take?
This process can take several years. The appeals can take a year-and-a-half to two years and likewise, post conviction motions can take that long. Normally, though, they do not take as long because they’re in the trial court and the judge directs the response to be made usually within 60 days. After that, it’s a question of whether the court feels there is a need to have a hearing or whether they can make the ruling based on the petition and the response. However, that usually doesn’t take all that long. Generally, the post conviction motions will be done within 6 months.
The whole process is not something someone should go in with the mindset that everything is going to be wrapped up quickly. Even regular trial work can take months or years depending on the sophistication of the case, so it is not a speedy process by any means.
Does Anyone Ever Try And Go Through This Process Alone Without Counsel?
In Florida, you’re entitled to a public defender to represent you at trial and for your direct appeal. You are not, as a matter of law, entitled to a lawyer for post-conviction relief. Oftentimes, public defenders will stay on a case. However, if the issue you’re raising challenges that lawyer’s effective assistance, it would be a conflict to have him or her represent you again, if that is the person whose competence you’re challenging. In that situation, unless you can get the court to appoint a conflict free attorney to assist you or handle that post-conviction motion for you, you are relegated to representing yourself if your family can’t hire a private criminal defense attorney.
How Important Is It For Someone To Have A Good Attorney Who Has Specific Experience With Post-Conviction Representation?
It’s extremely crucial. Unlike trial work and even appellate work, this type of work is not geared for people without the experience of having done it and been successful at it. A lot of criminal lawyers don’t want to handle this type of work and will refer it out. Unfortunately, when times are lean, many attorneys who don’t have proper experience for sophisticated criminal defense appeals or post conviction work will undertake a case because they’re authorized under the law to do it. It doesn’t make their representation as effective for you and you’re not going to get your best shot at prevailing.
Therefore, in cases of hiring an appellate attorney or a post-conviction attorney, it’s really important to ask about their experience with appeals and post conviction motions. It is also important to know that they have done a good number of them and whether they’ve had success. In appellate work, the attorney’s name is published with the opinion in those cases, so you can actually go and run an attorney’s name to see how much appellate work he or she has done to get an idea.
In post conviction matters, it’s more difficult because those proceedings, although they’re public record, are not published opinions like appellate opinions are. Those are called CASELAW that set precedent. Post-conviction motions are just normal trial proceedings that you could find in the clerk’s office but it would be very time consuming. So, in getting responses from the attorneys when questioned about how many post conviction motions they’ve handled and how successful they have been in handling them. Those things are really important in choosing the right lawyer.
Get answers to more Questions About The Post-Conviction Process or call the law offices of Randy Berman for a FREE Initial Consultation at (561) 866-5717 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.