Post-Conviction Relief (also called Rule 32 in Arizona) is another form of appeal. Arizona post-conviction relief petitions are filed with the original trial judge. Post-conviction relief petitions can address new evidence that may have been discovered since the trial. For example, if new DNA shows that someone else committed the crime, this evidence can be introdcued in a post-conviction relief petition. Often, post-conviction relief petitions focus on mistakes made by defense counsel at trial. This is called Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. Another common issue involves the prosecutor’s failure to turn over evidence favorable to the defense.
If you are filing a first Arizona post-conviction relief petition, you are entitled to counsel. However, if you do not qualify for a court-appointed attorney, the SWLC’s Arizona Post-Conviction Relief Attorney can represent you in your post-conviction relief proceedings. If you are filing your second post-conviction relief petition, you are not entitled to an attorney, but you may still hire the SWLC to represent you. We offer the highest qualify post-conviction relief representation. Rather than simply reviewing court records, we will take all reasonable steps to demonstrate why your conviction should be overturned. For example, we may go out and interview witnesses from your case, including new witnesses that we uncover through our investigations. If there is forensic evidence in your case that was not tested, we will work to get it tested and compared to other suspects. If your defense attorney did not adequately represent you at trial, or if the prosecution failed to turn over favorable evidence, we will fight to show that your conviction should be overturned on those bases.
Filing an Arizona post-conviction relief petition does not require that you claim “actual innocence.” However, if you have a valid claim of actual innocence, the SWLC’s Arizona Post-Conviction Relief Attorney will fight for you using all of the resources at our disposal. There are several organizations that are dedicated to getting innocent people out of prison, including the Innocence Project, and the Wrongful Conviction Clinic at the University of Arizona. However, these organizations get far more cases than they can handle. If you have applied to any of these organizations and had your case turned down, contact the SWLC.