How to Get Help for a Wrongful Conviction
Dedicated Civil Rights Attorney Offering Free Advice to Individuals Looking for Answers on How to Get Help for a Wrongful Conviction
When you are imprisoned after a wrongful conviction (or for a crime you did not commit), it can be difficult to know where to turn to find the help you need in order to clear your name and secure your release from prison. And it can be especially hard to get back on your feet after you have obtained your freedom. Below you will find a breakdown of how to get help for a wrongful conviction that occurred in Pennsylvania.
Appealing a Wrongful Conviction
Normally, if you believe you have been convicted of a crime you did not commit, your first recourse would be to file a direct appeal from your conviction. However, in many cases of exoneration, the evidence or information that ultimately led to a wrongful conviction being overturned was not discovered until months or years after a conviction. Direct appeals usually must be filed within a matter of days after a judgment is entered.
In Pennsylvania, convicted individuals who have newly discovered evidence that can prove they were wrongfully convicted may have the option to file a petition under the Post-Conviction Relief Act. If a petition is successful, the court may overturn a conviction and send the case back for a new trial or, if the evidence shows that the convicted person was not the perpetrator of the crime, release the individual and dismiss their charges.
Philadelphia’s Conviction Integrity Unit
In Philadelphia, the district attorney’s office has established the Conviction Integrity Unit. This unit is staffed with attorneys and investigators who review convicted individuals’ claims of actual innocence and wrongful conviction for those who were convicted in Philadelphia. The CIU reviews cases and, if the evidence supports a determination that a convicted individual was wrongfully convicted or is actually innocent of the crime, will recommend to the district attorney’s office and to the court that the individual’s conviction be overturned for a new trial or be vacated entirely so that the individual can be released.
Raising Funds to Get Help for a Wrongful Conviction
Pursuing a legal case to obtain an exoneration can quickly become an expensive endeavor, especially if laboratory testing or expert witnesses are needed. Fortunately, there are many social justice organizations and crowdfunding platforms dedicated to providing wrongfully convicted individuals with the financial resources they need to pursue their case.
Of course, even once an individual manages to secure their release from prison after they are exonerated from a wrongful conviction, they still often face significant personal financial difficulties. It can be difficult for a person to find stable employment or housing once released from prison due to the stigma of the criminal justice system, even if a person has been completely cleared of any wrongdoing. Pennsylvania remains one of the few states that does not have a wrongful conviction compensation statute, which would automatically pay individuals who are exonerated from a wrongful conviction in the state criminal justice system.
Some individuals who are released from prison following an exoneration turn to online platforms such as GoFundMe to raise money to help them cover living expenses until they are able to get back on their feet.
If an individual was wrongfully convicted due to the misconduct of police or prosecutors or other individuals, they may also have the option of filing a civil lawsuit against the government and other at-fault parties to seek an award of financial compensation for the monetary and personal losses they have incurred due to their wrongful conviction and incarceration. Fortunately, many attorneys who represent victims of wrongful convictions are willing to work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that a newly-exonerated person will not need to spend money up front to hire an attorney to advocate for their rights and interests.
Contact Marrone Law Firm, LLC Today for Information Regarding a Civil Lawsuit Following Your Exoneration for Wrongful Conviction
If your wrongful conviction has been proven in criminal court to be the result of misconduct by government officials or other individuals, Marrone Law Firm, LLC may be able to help you pursue justice and accountability through a civil suit. If you need assistance after being exonerated for a crime you did not commit, please contact us to learn more about pursuing financial compensation following your release from prison.
Call or contact us today for a free case evaluation to discuss your legal rights and options with a knowledgeable civil litigation & trial attorney in Philadelphia, PA.