District of Columbia Post-Conviction Remedies


Sometimes, non-citizens plead guilty to criminal offenses that incur immigration consequences. Sometimes, non-citizens are convicted of criminal offense in court. When there is no relief from deportation in the immigration court, often the only remedy is to attempt to vacate or amend the conviction by means of a post-conviction remedy. These remedies attempt to discover constitutional errors in the underlying criminal convictions that could not have been resolved on direct appeal. The most common constitutional error is called ineffective assistance of trial counsel when the defendant’s trial attorney made a mistake or failed to do something he should have done.

In Maryland there are two types of post-conviction remedies:

  1. The first form of post-conviction relief is a called petition for post-conviction relief pursuant to the Uniform Post Conviction Act of the Criminal Procedure Article Section 7-101, et. seq. To be eligible for this form of post-conviction relief, the defendant must be incarcerated, on parole or on probation. In post-conviction proceedings, the Defendant is guaranteed the right to a hearing and a written decision. This is very good because the court cannot dismiss the case without a hearing. A hearing is the best way to have a judge’s undivided attention on your client’s case.
  2. The second form of post-conviction relief is called a Writ of Error Coram Nobis. Coram Nobis relief is available when relief pursuant to the post-conviction petition under the Uniform Post Conviction Act is unavailable. In other words, Coram Nobis relief is available when the defendant is not incarcerated, on parole or on probation. In Coram Nobis petitions, the judge has the authority to reject the claim without a hearing. However, in general, if the client raises actionable claims, a hearing will be scheduled. Any claim that could have been raised under the Uniform Post Conviction Act may be raised in a Writ of Error Coram Nobis.

In addition, the firm has also used the Maryland rules of the court to vacate illegal sentences or reduce a defendant’s sentence. A sentence reduction is an important device because deportation often depends on the particular offense and the sentence imposed.

The firm will use whatever means necessary to vacate your conviction. Please understand that in many cases, depending on the particular circumstances of your criminal case, post-conviction relief may not be possible. The firm will analyze your case and make a determination whether you should proceed with post-conviction remedies.

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