David E. Stanley APLC

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David E. Stanley APLC

Applications For Post-Conviction Relief FAQs

A. In Louisiana, post-conviction procedures are strictly enforced. A person in custody after a sentence for conviction of a crime may obtain post-conviction relief only on the following specific and exclusive grounds:

  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 prove by clear and convincing evidence that the petitioner is factually innocent of the crime for which he was convicted.

Post-conviction proceedings do not provide a basis for review of claims of excessiveness of sentence or other sentencing errors. Likewise, a challenge to an adjudication as a multiple offender is not a proper ground for post-conviction relief.

The district court may deny relief if the application alleges a claim which the person in custody knew about but failed to raise in the proceedings prior to the conviction. Post-conviction relief may also be denied if the application raises a claim raised at trial but not on appeal, and a successive application may be dismissed if it raises a new or different claim. A successive application may be dismissed if it raises a new or different claim that was omitted from a prior application without a legitimate excuse. Finally, a person in custody is barred from raising a post-conviction relief claim if he could have done so on appeal or in prior applications for post-conviction relief.

If the court determines that the claim is procedurally barred, it will not reach or decide the merits of the claim. Should the court determine that the factual and legal issues raised by the person in custody can be resolved based upon the application itself, and the answer, and the supporting documents, the court may grant or deny relief without the necessity of holding a hearing or any further proceedings.

A. When you plead guilty, you ordinarily waive all non-jurisdictional defects in the proceedings that led up to the guilty plea, and you are precluded from seeking a review of any such defects by appeal or post-conviction relief. Once sentence has been imposed by the court, the only guilty pleas that be withdrawn by appeal or post-conviction relief are those that are constitutionally infirm. A guilty plea is considered constitutionally infirm, if it was not entered freely and voluntarily, if the court’s Boykin examination prior accepting the plea was inadequate, or when the guilty plea was induced by a plea bargain, or what was justifiably believed to be a plea bargain, and that bargain is not kept by the state. Under those circumstances, the person who entered the guilty plea has been denied due process of law because the guilty plea was not given freely and knowingly.

A. With very narrow and limited statutorily created exceptions, no application for post-conviction relief, including applications which seek an out-of-time appeal, shall be considered if it is filed more than two years after the judgment of conviction and sentence has become final. Therefore, it is critical that a person desiring to file an application for post-conviction relief retain experienced counsel as soon as possible after the conviction and sentence become final, or as soon as the facts upon which the claim is predicated are discovered, so that a valid ground for post-conviction relief does not become time barred.

David E. Stanley

(225) 926-0200