Michael P. Denea, P.L.C., offers a full range of post-conviction legal services, including direct appeals, petitions for post-conviction relief, habeas corpus proceedings and representation before the Board of Executive Clemency.
After conviction at a trial by jury, the accused must file a direct appeal with a higher court. From the initial client contact to the filing of the final brief, we are with you through every step of the appellate process. There is no substitute for a well-researched position. We thoroughly review the transcripts and the record and then meticulously research each point before compiling a well-reasoned and persuasive brief to file with the higher courts. Unlike some appellate attorneys, we take the time to meet with our clients face-to-face and telephonically before filing the appeal. Our direct appeal services include petitions for review to the Arizona Supreme Court, petitions for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, and representation at all levels of federal habeas corpus proceedings.
Petitions for Post-Conviction Relief
After a plea of guilty, or following an unsuccessful appeal, the accused may file a petition for post-conviction relief. Known as a “Rule 32” or a “PCR,” these petitions often raise issues relative to the competency and effectiveness of trial counsel, changes in the law, or the discovery of new evidence. These petitions are much more than filing a legal memorandum with boiler-plate case law. A successful Rule 32 requires thorough investigation of the facts, and meticulous research of the legal authorities. The contents of the first petition must be both exhaustive as to the factual issues, and complete and up-to-date as to the law. You only have one chance to file this petition, so it’s important to hire experienced counsel. We utilize our team of skilled investigators and legal researchers to bring all relevant arguments to the court’s attention.
Our attention to detail and unique approach to these critical petitions produces results. We have a high success rate in obtaining evidentiary hearings for our clients. Our post-conviction services also include petitions for review to the Arizona Court of Appeals, the Arizona Supreme Court, and representation at all levels of federal habeas corpus proceedings.
Prior Case History:
In 2005, we began representing a client regarding an error which occurred during his sentencing. After we filed an unsuccessful petition for post-conviction relief in the superior court, we took an appeal to the Arizona Court of Appeals, which reversed and remanded for an error in procedure. The judge made a second mistake, and we successfully appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court. In a 2009 published opinion, the Arizona Supreme Court vacated our client’s sentencing. On re-sentencing, our client was immediately released from prison.
Board of Executive Clemency
Our services also include applications for commutation, pardons, and parole before the Board of Executive Clemency. Board of Executive Clemency procedure includes a two-step hearing process. We help inmates put their best foot forward in these petitions by drafting the petition and coordinating and compiling letters from family, friends, and counselors. We often assist our clients by obtaining vital records and files from third parties such as the probation department and the Department of Corrections. Certain inmates are eligible to apply while others are not, depending on the conviction and the year of the offense.
Setting Aside Your Conviction
A past criminal conviction is not the end of the world. The Arizona legislature has generously allowed first-time offenders convicted of certain designated offenses to have their convictions “set aside.” While this process does not erase your record entirely, it does clear your name in the eyes of most public record inquiries and background checks, making re-entry into society that much easier. It also allows you to reacquire your right to vote and serve on a jury. In some cases, convicted felons in Arizona can even petition to have their rights to possess a firearm restored. We can assist you with this process.
Early Probation Termination and Modification
Arizona law allows the trial judge to impose very lengthy terms of probation, even up to a lifetime term for certain offenses, notably sex offenses, terrorism, stalking, personal abuse, and domestic violence offenses. However, “life” does not always mean life. In fact, the Arizona Supreme Court has recently decided that a certain group of sexual offenses are not subject to lifetime probation at all. We have successfully represented several clients who fall within this category, and have had their lifetime probation reduced or terminated.
We can prepare and coordinate petitions for early termination; we acquire all records and files, set up professional and psychological evaluations, file written petitions in court, and appear at all court hearings. Some specialty probations often entail certain conditions that may be unduly onerous or inappropriate for some offenders who don’t fall within the probation department’s “one size fits all” mold. Experienced counsel can often negotiate with your probation officer, treatment providers, and the court to modify or eliminate certain terms that may not be appropriate for you or your family.
If there are ongoing probation problems, you have the option of paying a flat fee and putting us on retainer for a full year to handle probation matters as they arise, including modifications, violations, petitions to revoke, and disposition hearings.
Please contact us to schedule a no-obligation consultation.