Capital Post Conviction Relief
The most serious sentence a convicted person can receive in Arizona is the death penalty. The termination of a person’s life cannot be taken lightly; therefore Arizona has established a number of procedures to ensure a person did not wrongfully receive a death sentence. One of the procedures is post conviction relief.
Following the trial, the defendant will receive a direct appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court. At the conclusion of the appellate process, the defendant may initiate post conviction relief proceedings in the trial court. The issues a defendant may raise in a post conviction relief proceeding is whether the trial attorney provided effective representation during the sentencing and trial or whether there is newly-discovered evidence that would have changed the verdict or sentence had it been presented at the time of the hearing or whether a change in the law that applies retroactively would probably change the conviction or sentence.
The Post Conviction Relief Unit consists of three attorneys, a legal secretary, an investigator and a mitigation specialist. The unit staff works collaboratively to review the trial attorneys’ preparation, read transcripts, re-interviews witnesses, file original motions and orate in court. The unit scrutinizes all information so they are able to address issues that may have prevented the defendant from receiving Due Process. Post conviction relief is the last hope in the state system for those facing death.