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Post-Conviction and Habeas Corpus Proceedings

Maryland Post-Conviction Proceedings
Defendants sentenced on or after October 1, 1995, have ten years from the date of sentencing to file a state petition for post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court for Maryland. The statute of limitations for federal habeas corpus petitions, however, is much shorter (see below). Post-conviction proceedings are the proper forum to raise issues that are outside the record, especially issues involving ineffective assistance of counsel. All meritorious issues must be raised because a petitioner is entitled to only one petition and any new claims brought in subsequent litigation may be procedurally barred. Additionally, a petitioner who pursues a habeas corpus petition in federal court may generally only raise federal constitutional issues that were previously exhausted in state court.

Federal Habeas Corpus Proceedings
State prisoners who file a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, and federal prisoners who file a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, have one year from the date the conviction became final, to file the appropriate petition. In the case of state petitioners, the statute of limitations period is tolled (the clock is stopped) while a properly filed petition for post-conviction relief is pending in state court. There are limited exceptions to the one-year statute of limitations period.

Because post-conviction and habeas corpus proceedings may involve complex issues of procedural default and tolling of the statute of limitations, it is important to find counsel who are competent not just in criminal defense but in post-conviction and habeas proceedings. At Lawlor & Englert, LLC, we have the experience necessary to represent those seeking post-conviction and habeas corpus relief. We recognize that this is often a person’s last avenue of relief and take care to review the record thoroughly for meritorious issues. Thus, in most cases, both Mr. Lawlor and Ms. Englert will review the record. We have litigated numerous issues, including all manner of ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecution’s failure to disclose evidence, delay in presentment, and counsel’s failure to investigate and call witnesses. Additionally, the firm has been appointed by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland to represent several clients in their pursuit of habeas corpus relief, including a client with a claim of actual innocence in a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 proceeding.

The information on this web site is provided for general informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Reading information from this web site does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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