Post-Conviction Relief

Post-Conviction relief is one of two avenues for appellate relief that a person facing criminal charges has from the decisions of a court.  Post-Conviction Relief, often referred to as Rule 32, for Rule 32 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure, is the only avenue of review for those that have been convicted by way of a plea agreement.  Post-Conviction Relief is also the only way to claim ineffective assistance of counsel against an attorney who represented you, whether it be in a plea, a trial, or an appeal.

Issues That Can Be Raised in Post-Conviction Relief

Post-Conviction Relief is limited to very specific grounds that can be raised, pursuant to Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1.  Those grounds are:

  • Conviction was obtained or sentence was imposed in violation of the United States or Arizona constitutions;
  • The Court did not have jurisdiction to render a judgment or to impose a sentence;
  • The sentence exceeds the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise not in accordance with the sentence authorized by law;
  • The defendant continues to be in custody after his or her sentence expired;
  • Newly discovered material facts probably exist, and those facts probably would have changed the verdict or sentence;
  • Failure to file a notice of post-conviction relief of-right or a notice of appeal within the required time was not the defendant’s fault;
  • There has been a significant change in the law that, if applied to the defendant’s case, would probably overturn the defendant’s conviction or sentence; or
  • The defendant demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the facts underlying the claim would be enough to establish that no reasonable factfinder would find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the death penalty would not have been imposed.

What Cannot Be Raised in Post-Conviction Relief

If you are applying for post-conviction relief the Court can preclude you from relief on any ground:

  • Still raiseable on direct appeal or in a post-trial motion;
  • Finally adjudicated on the merits in an appeal or in any previous collateral proceeding;
  • Waived at trial, on appeal, or in any previous collateral proceeding

Time Requirements

Post-Conviction Relief requires stringent adherence to a strict timeline.  In all non-capital cases, a notice of post-conviction relief must be filed no later than 90 days after the entry of judgment and sentence or no later than 30 days after the issuance of an order and mandate in a direct appeal, whichever is later.

Failing to follow the timeline, absent good grounds for late post-conviction relief, can lead to the preclusion of otherwise valid claims that would have potentially led to a conviction or sentence being overturned.

Necessity for Federal Review

In order to have your case reviewed in a federal court, you must exhaust all avenues for review in the State courts.  This means that you must complete a petition for post-conviction review in your case.

Who Should Apply for Post-Conviction Relief

If you or a family member have been convicted of an offense it is always worth having another set of eyes review the proceedings.  An experienced attorney that is knowledgeable in post-conviction relief proceedings can help you determine if post-conviction relief is appropriate for you or your loved one.  The attorneys at AZ Defenders have decades of criminal defense experience and offer free consultations to help you make the right choice for your case.  Call today 480-456-6400 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

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