Criminal defense and post-conviction appeals in Pennsylvania
There are times during a court session when prosecutors will act out of line in order to gain a conviction. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but it most often happens when he or she realizes the case is lost, then is not entirely truthful about certain witnesses and/or evidence. As a Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer, it’s my job to sniff out these infractions when my clients’ lives are at stake. What we’re referring to here is otherwise known as “prosecutorial misconduct.” Prosecutorial misconduct is a violation of court rules and the ethical standard of legal practices we all subscribe to as lawyers. Some examples of prosecutorial misconduct include using unreliable witnesses, tampering with evidence, hiding evidence, and conduct unethical to courtroom proceedings. Probably the most common type of prosecutorial misconduct comes in the form of violations to the “Brady rule.” Without getting into the details of the case from which the Brady rule stems, it essentially requires the prosecution to submit any and all evidence that might be in the possession of the government that is advantageous to the defense. Current statistics show that close to 45% of wrongful convictions come at the behest of violations to the Brady rule or other kinds of prosecutorial misconduct. Of the near 11,500 prosecutorial misconduct appeals since 1970, nearly 18% have been reversed. This means that if you are innocent or not entirely guilty of that which you have been convicted, there is still hope. Post-conviction appeals allow your attorney to present to the court any mistakes, new evidence, or prosecutorial misconduct that may have led to an unjustified conviction. If proven, a person may be eligible for a post-conviction appeal. This can be the difference between a life in jail and being completely exonerated in some cases. If you have questions about post-conviction appeals because you feel that evidence was withheld or new evidence came to light, call Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Gary Gerson for a free consultation today at 412-219-6875.