Motions to Reopen

So, your petition for post-conviction relief was denied. Now what?

If you've been unable to obtain relief through a post-conviction petition, and your application for leave to appeal from the denial of that petition was unsuccessful, you may want to consider filing a motion to reopen post-conviction proceedings ("motion to reopen").

Similar to a post-conviction petition, a motion to reopen enables you to show the court that your post-conviction attorney violated your constitutional rights through inadequate representation. The motion must be filed in the circuit court where your post-conviction petition was denied and can be filed at any time after that denial.

A motion to reopen also enables you to present the court with changes in the law since you were convicted that entitle you to relief.

However, these are not the only ways that you can obtain a relief through a motion to reopen. Unlike a post-conviction petition, the legal standard for a motion to reopen - set by the ยง 7-104 of the Uniform Post-Conviction Procedure Act - is whether reopening your post-conviction proceedings is "in the interests of justice".

  • Will the court allow you to reopen your case?

Will the court allow you to reopen your case?

Ask yourself:

  • Did your pre-trial, trial, and/or appellate attorney make a mistake that your post-conviction attorney could have argued entitled you to relief?
  • What, if any, changes in the law have occurred since your post-conviction petition was denied?

And then:

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