If your loved one has been convicted of a crime they did not commit, then you will do whatever it takes to help them get out of prison. It can be devastating after two to four years of waiting through the direct appeal process to find out you were turned down. Fortunately, if the Oregon Court of Appeals did not agree with your loved one’s appeal, then there are other options for relief.
Your loved one can ask for a petition for reconsideration or file for a “Petition for Review” if they are unhappy with the court’s decision. This is a formal way of asking the Oregon Supreme Court to hear your case. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court is selective in the cases it hears and there is a good chance you may be denied.
Another option exists to help your loved one get out of prison: post-conviction relief. In the post-conviction relief process, you may challenge the conviction in court. An appeal is based completely on the record created at trial, however, post-conviction relief (PCR) proceedings allow you to add new information to the record.
In PCR proceedings, you will outline what errors lead to the wrongful conviction. You may state that mistakes or misconduct by your lawyer, the prosecutor or the judge lead to a wrongful conviction.
Under what circumstances can you seek post-conviction relief?
Any of the following issues are solid grounds for a PCR claim:
- Evidence has been uncovered that was not heard at trial
- Misconduct by the prosecutor
- A witness changed their story
- Error or misconduct by the defense attorney
- Deprivation of constitutional rights during trial and appeal
It is important to note that the defendant must initiate the PCR proceedings within two years of the appeal decision.
How do proceedings work?
PCR proceedings are conducted before a judge in court. They are open to the public and the victim can attend. Evidence is presented before the judge, such as witness statements or transcripts. Your loved one may testify and address the court, unlike in an appeal. Overall, proceedings typically take a half an hour, but results may take much longer. Outcomes vary, but it is possible your loved one may get a new trial, a reduced sentence or other forms of relief.