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Frequently Asked Questions About Post-Conviction Relief

If you were convicted of criminal charges in Minnesota, all hope is not lost. You have a right to appeal the verdict. The best investment you can make is to select a highly skilled post-conviction criminal law attorney.

I am Howard Bass, a post-conviction relief lawyer with 30 years of experience. I have the skills and legal resources to address all of your concerns, such as:

What happens on an appeal?
A person convicted of a crime has a right to appeal that conviction to an appellate court. The facts that can be considered on appeal and the issues that can be raised on appeal are limited to those presented in the trial court. Appellate courts generally do not re-evaluate factual issues. Instead, they focus on legal issues to determine if the defendant’s statutory, constitutional, or procedural rights were violated and whether the evidence presented at trial was admissible.

If an appellate court affirms a conviction, the defendant can seek further review by the supreme court. Such review is discretionary, however, meaning a defendant has no right to have the supreme court review his or her case. If the appellate court reverses a conviction, it can either discharge the defendant (meaning the case is over) or remand the case for retrial.

What is post-conviction relief?
Petitions for post-conviction relief or a writ of habeas corpus are ways a person can challenge the legality of a conviction or sentence after an unsuccessful appeal or after the time to appeal has expired. Frequently, these challenges involve matters outside the trial court record, such as newly discovered evidence or ineffective assistance of counsel. Generally, issues either raised on direct appeal or known but not raised on direct appeal, cannot be raised collaterally on a petition for post-conviction relief.

What is expungement?
Under current Minnesota law, most expungement remedies are limited to sealing of judicial records relating to arrest, indictment or information, trial, and dismissal or discharge. Generally, if charges are dismissed prior to a finding of probable cause, the prosecuting authority declined to bring any charges, or a grand jury did not return an indictment against an arrested person, he or she is entitled to the return of identification data (including fingerprints, mug shots and booking information).

If all pending actions or proceedings were otherwise resolved in the petitioner’s favor (dismissed after a finding of probable cause or an acquittal on all counts), there is a presumption that the records should be sealed. If, however, a petitioner was convicted of a crime or even admitted committing the crime (in some cases), there is a presumption that the records should not be sealed. These competing presumptions play a significant role in the court’s balancing the interests of the public and public safety with the petitioner’s interests.

Have Additional Questions About Post-Conviction Relief?

I have 30 years of experience handling appeals, expungements and providing post-conviction relief for clients throughout the Twin Cities. I am fully prepared to help you navigate through any stage of the criminal justice system. Use my online contact form or call 952-466-6718 to schedule a free initial consultation.