Tallahassee Newly Discovered Evidence Attorney
In television crime dramas, you sometimes see story lines about “newly discovered evidence” casting doubt on a person’s conviction. Such cases do happen in real life. But dealing with newly discovered evidence is not simply a matter of showing up at the courthouse and demanding the defendant’s release based on such evidence. Even when newly discovered evidence may exonerate a defendant, there is still a legal process that must be followed.
At Luke Newman, P.A., we represent clients throughout the Tallahassee area who are seeking post-conviction relief based on newly discovered evidence. We understand the procedures for filing the appropriate motions with federal or state courts and ensuring that a judge has the proper opportunity to consider this new evidence. In some cases, this can lead to substantial relief for the defendant.
What Types of Newly Discovered Evidence Will a Florida Court Consider?
Following a criminal conviction, the defendant always has the right to a direct appeal. Such appeals do not involve allegations regarding newly discovered evidence. Rather, a direct appeal challenges the conduct of the original trial, including any improper admission of evidence or other legal errors made by the prosecution or the judge. Such errors are only heard on direct appeal, however, if they were raised as objections during the original trial. In other words, a direct appeal is not the proper place to introduce new evidence or arguments that were not presented at trial.
So what happens when a defendant discovers potentially important evidence after the trial is over? In that case, they can file a collateral appeal–i.e., a motion for post-conviction relief. This allows the defendant to introduce newly discovered evidence under certain conditions. Some examples of this include:
- A key prosecution witness who testified against the defendant at trial later recants their testimony.
- A witness who was unknown to the defense came forward after the trial and offered potentially exculpatory testimony.
- The defense located a witness they planned to call at trial but who could not be located.
- There is new scientific evidence, such as DNA testing, that was not available during the trial.
- There have been new research or studies that debunks a scientific theory relied on by a prosecution expert witness.
It is important to understand that the mere existence of newly discovered evidence will not always lead to relief. The court must first be satisfied this was, in fact, newly discovered evidence. That is, the evidence was not available to the defense at trial–or could not have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence. Additionally, the newly discovered evidence must be material to the issues presented at trial and would have likely produced an acquittal if the defendant is granted a new trial.
Contact Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Luke Newman Today
Many Florida criminal convictions have been undermined by newly discovered evidence. That is why it is important not to ignore or dismiss such evidence out of hand. It is also why, if you are looking to challenge a criminal conviction, you need to work with a Tallahassee newly discovered evidence lawyer who has experience in handling these matters. Contact Luke Newman, P.A., to schedule a consultation with a member of our Florida criminal appeals team.