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Post-Conviction Relief

New Orleans criminal defense lawyer Alex K. Kriksciun has intimate knowledge about Louisiana's post-conviction laws.

As a law clerk and staff attorney at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, he read and suggested rulings on hundreds of counseled and pro se applications for post-conviction relief.  He has also represented clients in post-conviction proceedings in private practice.Louisiana has a complex and arcane state post-conviction relief system.  In order to obtain any kind of relief, a person must file an application for post-conviction relief within two (2) years from the date conviction and sentence become final. The issues raised in post conviction are limited to newly discovered evidence, errors not previously known to the defense, changing laws, ineffective assistance of counsel, and other issues in the interest of justice. Under LSA-C.Cr.P. art. 930.3, the following (and only the following) are grounds for post-conviction relief:

(1)  The conviction was obtained in violation of the constitution of the United States or the state of Louisiana;

(2)  The court exceeded its jurisdiction;

(3)  The conviction or sentence subjected him to double jeopardy;

(4)  The limitations on the institution of prosecution had expired;

(5)  The statute creating the offense for which he was convicted and sentenced is unconstitutional; or

(6)  The conviction or sentence constitute the ex post facto application of law in violation of the constitution of the United States or the state of Louisiana.

(7)  The results of DNA testing performed pursuant to an application granted under Article 926.1 proves by clear and convincing evidence that the petitioner is factually innocent of the crime for which he was convicted.

As a practical matter, post-conviction relief may be granted if trial counsel was ineffective, the state failed to hand over Brady material (exculpatory evidence), DNA evidence not introduced at trial shows that the applicant is factually innocent of the charged crime, or there was evidence of perjury or witness tampering.

When dealing with a post-conviction case, the first step in the process is to gather as much information and documentation as possible.  This may involve filing public records requests for the state's file, and possibly even filing suit.  It is often necessary to hire an investigator, forensic expert, or health professional to support the application.  The next step in the process is presenting a complete application for post-conviction relief to the appropriate court.  If post-conviction relief is granted, the conviction is vacated, but the state has the right to try the defendant again if it so chooses.

If you or someone you care about is interested in post-conviction relief, please contact the Law Office of Alex Kriksciun for a free consultation today!