Strict deadlines apply for challenging criminal convictions. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, my heart goes out to the numerous people calling me to seek relief for serious convictions years after the last court action was taken. The relief usually is sought to try to obtain one’s liberty, or else to help a crimmigration situation. The deadlines for seeking post conviction relief are strict and jurisdictional, and I am unlikely to offer service so long after the last court action absent discovery of new material evidence or of impropriety by the prosecution, court or police that could not have been discovered earlier.
Strict deadlines for post conviction relief should be treated as likely or absolutely inflexible, says Fairfax criminal lawyer
Criminal defendants need to adhere strictly to timely and correctly seeking appellate review or other post conviction relief on their convictions. They need to know the appellate and other post conviction rights they give up by pleading guilty, nolo contendere/no contest or Alford rather than going to trial. They also need to know the state and federal deadlines that apply to seeking habeas corpus/ post conviction relief from their convictions.
Virginia and federal habeas corpus filing deadlines are short
Often, felony convicts seek federal habeas corpus relief after losing their state habeas corpus/post conviction efforts. Recently, the United States Supreme Court unanimously denied habeas corpus relief to Vernon Madison based on the long delay in his seeking federal habeas corpus relief decades after receiving a death sentence, on his basis of no longer remembering the homicide incident. Dunn v. Madison, ___ U.S. ___ (Nov. 6, 2017).
An otherwise meritorious post conviction argument can fail for being brought too late to a court’s attention, points out Virginia criminal lawyer
In their concurring opinions in Madison’s case, Justice Ginsburg and Breyer saw Madison’s argument as worthy of consideration had he filed for federal habeas corpus relief earlier. Justice Breyer went further, to question the death penalty itself, which is monumentally wonderful for the Supreme Court to question. Dunn v. Madison.
Let Vernon Madison’s federal habeas corpus plight be a lesson to all criminal defendants, to timely and correctly seek appellate and habeas corpus relief.
Fairfax, Virginia, criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz has successfully defended clients not only at the trial stage but also at the habeas corpus stage. To discuss your case with Jon, please call his staff to schedule a confidential consultation, at 703-383-1100.