There are situations in a case whereby a conviction can be overturned or reduced, due to several reasons. One example is when a defense attorney suspects that one or more jurors were “persuaded” to vote a certain way that led to a conviction.
If the defense attorney thinks it is essential, he or she can interview the jurors and discover if one or more jurors were cajoled or threatened to make a certain decision. Under California’s Penal Code §1181, the defense lawyer can have the conviction overturned and request a new trial.
In other circumstances, the defense lawyer may find out that evidence was withheld by the prosecution that would have led to a case dismissal or a reduced charge and conviction if even that. Police evidence may have been withheld to protect an officer’s misconduct during the arrest of a suspect, which might have led to a lesser penalty in the case.
This is a plea sometimes used to arrange better terms for a convicted person, but it should be treated with caution. The prosecution may have enough evidence that convicted a person, but if the verdict is contested, the prosecution may come up with a plea deal, such as the Alford Plea.
This deal allows a convicted person to state guilt or plead no contest in return for a lesser punishment, meaning he or she can get out of jail sooner, but still is convicted for life, even if innocent. The evidence of innocence could surface much later, such as in DNA evidence which has overturned many convicted cases of rape and murder across the United States in recent years.
One case of two men separately convicted of rape and murder for the same person in Maryland shows how accepting the Alford Plea could have long-term consequences, especially when DNA evidence tested years after conviction, showed that both men were innocent. One man walked free but is a convicted killer for life, while the other refused to accept the deal. He went to trial again several years later after the DNA testing was done, and was exonerated, along with gaining the right to sue the state of Maryland.
There are other ways to receive help after conviction and they are listed below.
- Appealing the conviction,
- If a felony, reducing it to a misdemeanor,
- A motion to resentence, cutting conviction of inadmissible crime or aggravated felony,
- Habeas corpus petition to the entity holding a prisoner and showing why the prisoner is held,
- Clearing a record,
- Expungement of a criminal record,
- Motion to overturn a conviction based on lack of effective counsel by an attorney. A Padilla motion is applied to immigrants who pled guilty to a deportable or inadmissible crime but did not receive effective counseling on what options were available to immigrants.
If you have been charged with a crime, and you need the help of an experienced defense attorney, call us now at 619-234-2300. You can also contact us online here.