A person accused of committing a criminal act is considered innocent until proven guilty. The individual can plead not guilty, no contest, or guilty to the crime. If a person is found guilty after a trial, they are sentenced to a jail or prison time and/or a fine, unless they can successful prove actual innocence.
An actual innocence claim is an appeal using new evidence that was not available at the time of a defendant’s original trial. The purpose of the claim is to question the confidence of the original jury’s verdict.
No. Any new evidence supporting actual innocence must be present after the completion of a trial. This evidence is used by the defense team for the specific purpose of showing that the defendant was actually innocent of the crime.
There are two situations where a defendant can use this defense after the trial:
It can be established in two basic ways:
A bare claim involves showing hard evidence that casts reasonable doubt on the conviction. This includes new DNA evidence. The new evidence could not have been available to the court at the time of trial, which is why it was not presented at the original trial.
Constitutional error refers to gross mistakes being made during the trial. These mistakes prevented evidence from being introduced which could have proved the defendant’s innocence. For example, there could have been suppressed evidence or witnesses who could have changed the outcome of the case.
This is a complicated defense strategy, and a lawyer’s assistance is essential to being able to properly assert it. Talk to a criminal lawyer to understand more about proving this claim.
Last Modified: 09-10-2015 11:34 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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