Post-Conviction Proceedings

Baltimore Criminal Defense Attorneys With 85 Years' Combined Experience

If there are compelling reasons that you did not receive a fair trial due to legal error or deficiency in your attorney's performance, you may have grounds for a new trial or reduced sentence. The Baltimore federal criminal defense attorneys at Nathans & Biddle LLP have decades of experience successfully preparing and litigating state and federal post-conviction claims.

To learn more about pursuing an appeal or filing for a mistrial, call (410) 783-0272.

Pursuing Post-Conviction Relief

Maryland law allows clients to seek post-conviction relief following the end of the direct appeals process. In Maryland, every convicted client has a right to an in-court hearing on their post-conviction claims so long as they are serving a sentence of incarceration or are on parole or probation arising from a conviction and sentence. In some situations, a client's previously denied post-conviction petitions can be reopened and clients may prevail based on subsequent claims of actual innocence.

After a trial has resulted in a conviction and sentence, a federal court client has the right to seek timely post-conviction relief by filing a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 petition.

The attorneys at Nathans & Biddle are recognized for their victories in correcting errors made in federal and state trials or sentencing hearings through post-conviction proceedings. Recent victories have included freeing innocent clients, reduced or shortened sentences, time served sentences, reversal of convictions, and eventual pleas to reduced charges.

Unlike direct appeals, post-conviction proceedings are not limited to the prior trial record. Our tireless investigative work in such cases is a hallmark of our practice and has resulted in the freedom of numerous clients including four innocent Maryland men who had wrongfully served 27, 39, 32, and 26 years in prison and an individual who remained on death row for more than 7 years.

Ways of Obtaining Sentencing Relief in State and Federal Courts

In addition to filing a post-conviction petition, clients can obtain sentencing relief in Maryland state courts as a result of:

  • An appeal to the Circuit Court from a District Court conviction
  • A timely filed Motion to Reduce Sentence
  • A hearing before a Three Judge Panel
  • Acceptance into and successful completion of various drug/alcohol programs ordered by the court

In Federal Court, a client's sentence can be reduced by:

  • A successful appeal challenging the reasonableness of the sentence or the improper application of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines
  • Successful admission and completion of various programs offered by the Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • Obtaining sentencing relief through federal post-conviction petitions (28 U.S.C. § 2255) and/or Federal or State coram nobis petitions
  • Providing substantial assistance /cooperating with law enforcement or prosecutors after sentence

Obtaining Relief through Coram Nobis Petitions

There is also a right in Maryland to attack a conviction and sentence long after a client has served a sentence and completed parole or probation. This issue most commonly arises when permanent resident aliens or other undocumented individuals face deportation based on old offenses, or prior convictions need to be removed due to professional licensing, regulatory requirements, or educational or vocational goals. In these situations, Nathans & Biddle attorneys have successfully employed the writ of coram nobis to help our clients achieve freedom from the unexpected consequences of prior convictions. We have also had success in filing coram nobis petitions in appropriate cases.

Evaluating Grounds for Post Conviction and Coram Nobis Relief

Below is a list of some of the legal issues that have formed the basis for our post conviction and coram nobis victories:

  • Discovery of exculpatory – Brady evidence
  • Errors in guilty plea proceedings
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel (failure to properly investigate mental health defenses)
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel (failure to adequately represent client during Federal Sentencing proceedings)
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel (failure to adequately put forth a defense)
  • Ineffective assistance of appellate counsel (failure to investigate or raise a viable claim)
  • Conflict of interest of the trial attorney
  • Evidence of Actual Innocence

Federal Post-Conviction Proceedings

After a trial has resulted in a conviction and sentence, a defendant in federal court has two more opportunities to obtain a just result: direct appeal and federal habeas corpus post-conviction proceedings through 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Our attorneys have many years of experience and successes in correcting errors made in federal trials through post-conviction proceedings. These successes have included reduced or shortened sentences, reversal of convictions, and eventual pleas to reduced charges.

Our principal federal area of practice is in Maryland, although we also have experience in federal post- conviction proceedings in other states.

Contact the Appeals Attorneys at Nathans & Biddle

The rules and procedures governing post-conviction cases are complex and subject to strict timelines. Consequently, it's extremely important to work with an experienced attorney who understands the process and the fine art of advocacy.

To schedule an appointment to discuss your case, contact a Baltimore appeals attorney by calling (410) 783-0272.

Top Tier Firm Devoted to Complex Cases

  • Leadership Positions

    Members of our firm have held leadership positions, including Chair of the American Bar Association White Collar Subcommittee on Federal Sentencing & the American Bar Association Subcommittee on Forfeiture.

  • Knowledge & Experience

    Over 75 years of combined experience and insights into complex federal and white collar criminal defense.

  • Honors & Accolades

    Larry Allen Nathans was recognized by Best Lawyers® as the Best Criminal Defense Attorney for Maryland in 2015 & Best Lawyers in America® for 2008-2017.

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