Post-Conviction Appeals Due to Prosecutorial Misconduct in Pennsylvania
Prosecutors hold a lot of power in the judicial system, and when they misuse their power in their zeal to get criminals off of the streets, innocent people’s lives can be ruined by their unfair conduct.
Prosecutorial misconduct violates court rules or the ethical standards of legal practice that can include:
- Court room misconduct
- Hiding or tampering with evidence
- Failing to disclose evidence that might exonerate the defendant
- Tampering with witnesses
- The use of unreliable witnesses
One of the most common claims of prosecutorial misconduct comes from violations of the Brady rule, which requires prosecutors to disclose any evidence in the government’s possession that might be favorable to the accused. Brady violations are difficult to detect. However, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, which provides details about known exonerations in the U.S. since 1989, about 43 percent of wrongful convictions are due to prosecutorial misconduct. In a nationwide study on prosecutorial misconduct by the Center for Public Integrity, in 11,452 documented appeals alleging prosecutorial misconduct between 1970 and 2001, 2,012 appeals led to reversals or remanded indictments — an error rate of 17.6%.
Alex Kozinski, chief judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, said the following in a dissent from a ruling that involved prosecutors withholding evidence, “There is an epidemic of Brady violations abroad in the land.”
A post-conviction appeal is an opportunity to present any errors, misconduct or newly discovered evidence which might have led to an improper conviction. If you can prove that the errors, oversight or misconduct prejudiced the decision against you, you may be a candidate for post-conviction relief, which can include a retrial of the case, revision of the sentence, dismissal of all charges and release of the prisoner.
If you have been convicted of a crime and you feel that errors were made during your trial, you may want to appeal the decision. It is important to have the right attorney on your side that has experience with handling post-conviction appeals. There is a time limit for filing an appeal, and your case must fit the qualifications of Pennsylvania’s Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA).
At the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman, we have more than 35 years of experience with criminal appeals. We have experienced and dedicated attorneys who will work tirelessly to overturn your criminal conviction. If you are searching for a highly skilled attorney to handle your appeal, call us today at 215-563-7100 or contact us online for your free initial consultation.