Houston, TX asked in Criminal Law and Appeals / Appellate Law for Texas

Q: If reasonable doubt in a case can it be retrial if the person was given 75yrs for something he didn't do?

The state vs Charles Edward williams

2 Lawyer Answers
Kiele Linroth Pace
Kiele Linroth Pace
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Probably not. A defendant isn't sentenced until and unless they've been convicted. They can't be convicted until either (1) they entered a plea of guilty or no contest, or (2) there was a trial and the prosecution proved guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If there is evidence that shows a reasonable doubt, then he should have presented it at trial or not entered a guilty plea. Changing a sentence after a conviction requires either an appeal or an action from the Governor like a pardon or commutation. In most situations, there is a limited time after conviction to begin the appeals process and after that it is simply too late. You can only get a do-over on the trial if you can show that the proper procedure was not followed in the first trial and the mistake was bad enough to change the outcome.

The discovery of new evidence is not usually enough to win an appeal... there has to be an error that prevented the evidence from being used at the first trial, for example, if law enforcement or the prosecutor knew about it but hid it from the defense attorney. There is a well-known exception for old cases where DNA evidence has been preserved but the proper DNA tests were not available back when the trial was conducted ... but those cases are few and far between these days since DNA testing has been available for decades. There are a few less-common grounds for appeal but identifying them requires hiring a post-conviction specialist to carefully review the trial transcript and case file. That will probably cost in the neighborhood of $20,000 and there is no guarantee they will actually find anything serious enough to allow a late appeal.

Penny Wymyczak-White
PREMIUM
Penny Wymyczak-White
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Houston, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: The defendant may be able to file an appeal or do a wrti,

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