Writ of Actual Innocence: Just what is it?

by | May 27, 2014 | Lawyers and Law Firms

In the state of Maryland, an individual who is convicted of a crime may petition the court for a writ of actual innocence with the help of a criminal attorney. If you need this type of services, then there are plenty of experience criminal attorneys in Bel Air, MD. This can be done in situations that find newly discovered evidence in play. However, that evidence has to maintain the following:

*      The newly discovered evidence creates the substantial possibility of another, different, result

*     The newly discovered evidence could not have been discovered within a timely manner, to move for a new trial

If these two things are in place, then the individual is entitled to request a hearing. In a recent case, this writ of actual innocence was petitioned for by an individual accused of attempted armed robbery. In the defendant’s case, his lawyer attempted to impeach one of the witnesses on the basis of committing a “prior bad act.” By bringing up a previous case that could potentially discredit a witness, the witness could be dismissed on the merits of being previously untruthful in court. However, to the detriment of the defendant, the judge did not rule this allowable, as there was never an actual conviction.

Later, the defendant obtained evidence he felt was substantial to discredit that same witness from other sources. He ascertained that if this evidence had been available during his trial, the outcome would have been different. The judge, however, denied the writ of actual innocence for the following reasons:

*     The petition must be in writing and describe in detail the basis for the petition

*     The petition must describe said evidence

*     The petition must request a hearing and be able to show how the newly discovered evidence would have produced a different outcome

*     Additionally, the court did not find that this “newly discovered evidence” was actually newly discovered.

Since the defendant relied on facts that occurred after his trial ended, and much of it off an officer’s mere observations, the new evidence would have no effect on the previous trial. This kind of mistake can be easily avoided by using an experienced criminal attorney. Criminal attorneys are highly trained and can offer helpful advice in situations such as this.

If you find yourself convicted of a crime, consult with a professional criminal attorney in Bel Air, MD. Maria Caruso is an experienced Bel Air criminal attorney that will fight aggressively for your rights and interests.

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