January 15, 2014 • Posted In Your Rights
If you have been convicted of a crime in the State of Georgia, there are multiple post-conviction remedies available to help you attack the conviction and seek to have it overturned. The following is an oversimplified list of the procedures available.
The first procedure available is a motion for new trial, which is filed in the same court in which you were convicted and, typically, ruled upon by the same judge who presided over your trial. A motion for new trial allows the trial judge to correct any error on his/her own, rather than potentially having an appellate court rule that the trial judge erred (i.e. the trial judge can clean up his/her own mess). Pursuing a motion for new trial is discretionary and, thus, you may opt to forego this step and directly pursue an appeal. This is only recommended, however, in limited instances. (In most situations, you may as well use all your swings.) Further, in order to raise some grounds on appeal, such as ineffective assistance of trial counsel, you must pursue a motion for new trial in order to be able to present evidence or testimony at the motion for new trial hearing. You’ll need to present it there in order to make a record for appeal.
If your motion for new trial is denied or you elected to forego a motion for new trial, you have the right to appeal your conviction. Your appeal will be heard by the Georgia Court of Appeals unless you were convicted of murder, in which case it will be heard by the Georgia Supreme Court.
If your appeal is denied by the Court of Appeals, you may seek to have the Georgia Supreme Court review the decision through a petition for a writ of certiorari. Alternatively or if denied by the Georgia Supreme Court, you may seek to have the United States Supreme Court review your appeal through a petition for a writ of certiorari (though this is a complicated and expensive process).
If unsuccessful on appeal, you may seek review of your criminal conviction through a writ of habeas corpus, which is essentially a civil lawsuit that challenges your incarceration on constitutional grounds. This remedy is available in both state and federal court but is subject to strict time limitations.
If you have been convicted but feel that your conviction is erroneous and you wish to fight it, you should carefully consider your options and consult a knowledgeable attorney at once. Your time is very limited for some options, so you have only a small window in which to act. Feel free to contact our office to discuss the best choices in your case.