Fight For Justice
The Uniform Post-Conviction Procedure Act governs post-conviction relief in Oklahoma. Specifically, Title 22, Section 1080, of the Oklahoma Statutes lists the six reasons an individual may seek post-conviction relief in the State. Only those individuals:
- Whose sentence or conviction violates the U.S. or Oklahoma Constitution;
- Whose conviction was imposed by a court without proper jurisdiction;
- Whose sentence exceeds what the law allows;
- Who can show “evidence of material facts, not previously presented and heard, that requires vacation of the conviction”;
- Those being unlawfully held in custody; or
- Whose conviction or sentence is otherwise subject to collateral attack because of error.
Post-Conviction Relief Process
The post-conviction relief process is complicated and best handled by a skilled attorney specializing in post-conviction relief. After completing the initial post-conviction investigation, our Oklahoma City post-conviction attorneys with Wirth Law Office prepare a post-conviction application and brief to the court in support of post-conviction relief. The fourth reason mentioned above, material facts not previously seen by the court that requires vacation of the conviction, is the most common route to post-conviction relief in Oklahoma.
Not surprisingly, those material facts usually must be discovered during the post-conviction investigation phase. And, though there are exceptions, the material facts not previously seen by the court will most often fall under the category of prosecutorial misconduct (referred to as Brady claims), ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel, or what’s known as a “stand-alone” innocence claim. After allowing the prosecuting entity to reply, the Court will consider all the facts presented and decide what to do next.
After considering briefs from the Defense and State, the Court has several options; these include:
- Set aside the judgment and sentence and discharge or resentence the applicant.
- Grant a new trial.
- Correct or modify the judgment and sentence as may appear appropriate.
- Grant summary judgment in favor of the State if it determines there are no genuine issues of material fact.
Suppose the Court determines that the applicant can’t be disposed of based on the filings from the Defense and State. In that case, it will schedule an evidentiary hearing. An evidentiary hearing is a hearing before the court to determine findings of fact and conclusions of law based on the narrow issues in the application. At an evidentiary hearing, the Court may consider affidavits submitted by both parties and hear oral testimony.
Oklahoma Post-Conviction Investigation Attorney
As mentioned, the post-conviction process is one of the most intricate areas of criminal law. In addition to the method described above, Oklahoma has separate statutes for those seeking post-conviction relief from death penalty convictions (Title 22, Section 1089, of the Oklahoma Statutes) or seeking exoneration based on DNA evidence (Title 22, Section 1373, of the Oklahoma Statutes). Further, post-conviction applicants that are unsuccessful at the district court level may appeal their decision to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA). Applicants unsuccessful with OCCA may also be able to bring their wrongful conviction claim into the Federal Court system through what is known as a Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Strict timelines and rules govern each stage of the post-conviction process. A mistake in the post-conviction application process can delay possible relief for years or, even worse, completely close the door on any future relief. If you or a loved one is behind bars and deserve a second chance, you may need help from an Oklahoma City post-conviction attorney with Wirth Law Office.
For a free consultation with an Oklahoma City post-conviction attorney, call 918-932-2833. You can also submit an email question from the top right corner of this page. We will respond to all inquiries as soon as possible.