New and Additional Evidence
While the writ of habeas corpus is one of the most powerful tools in all the law, it is also one of the most frequently used. Courts receive tens of thousands of petitions for writ of habeas corpus each year—the vast majority of which are denied without the court ever reaching the merits of the petitioner’s claim. Thus, to successfully bring a writ of habeas corpus , it is imperative that the petition is not only timely and procedurally sound but also that the merits of the petitioner’s claims are sound. Perhaps one of the most compelling issues one can raise in a petition for writ of habeas corpus is that there has been new and additional evidence discovered.
At the Los Angeles post-conviction law firm of Power Trial Lawyers, our criminal appeals lawyers command an unrivaled understanding of the complex procedural framework that governs habeas corpus litigation. We have more than a decade of experience pursuing relief on behalf of inmates across California and routinely secure the release of our clients through our aggressive and strategic advocacy.Does Habeas Corpus Provide a Remedy for Inmates with New and Additional Evidence?
Yes, unlike in the direct appeal process, in a habeas corpus proceeding, courts are permitted to accept and consider new and additional evidence that was not presented at trial. In fact, in the context of a habeas corpus petition based on newly discovered evidence, a court can only grant relief based on evidence that was not presented at trial. An exception to this general rule is if trial counsel failed to introduce evidence that was available at the time of trial; however, such a claim is more properly characterized as an ineffective assistance of counsel claim.
When referring to newly discovered evidence, it is important for inmates to understand that it is only newly discovered evidence of innocence that can form the basis of a habeas corpus claim. For example, the following evidence, if discovered after conviction, could warrant habeas relief:
- A witness recants their testimony,
- DNA evidence,
- Another person admits to committing the crime,
- A new witness comes forward, or
- The discovery that police or prosecution withheld evidence.
In each of these situations, an inmate may file a petition for writ of habeas corpus bringing forward new and additional evidence of innocence. However, just because new evidence of innocence is discovered does not mean that the prosecution will agree that relief is appropriate. Often, prosecutors raise both procedural and substantive challenges to these claims.Is There a Statute of Limitations for Newly Discovered Evidence?
No, nowhere in the California Penal Code or Court Rules is there mention of a statute of limitations for inmates seeking habeas corpus relief through newly discovered evidence. This makes sense because inmates have virtually no control over when new evidence suggesting they are innocent becomes available. However, a petition for writ of habeas corpus must be filed without substantial delay. Thus, while there is no statute of limitations for a writ of habeas corpus based on new and additional evidence, courts expect petitioners to file within a reasonable amount of time after learning of the newly discovered evidence.Did You Discover New Evidence Proving Your Innocence?
If you are currently incarcerated and recently learned of new and additional evidence that was not presented at trial, the skilled Los Angeles post-conviction lawyers at Power Trial Lawyers can help you prepare and present an effective petition to the court. Our habeas corpus lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of habeas corpus claims on behalf of California inmates, including those arising from newly discovered evidence. We can not only help you get your claims before a court but also effectively advocate on your behalf to ensure your issues receive the attention they deserve. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Barhoma today, call 213-800-7664. You can also reach us through our online contact form.