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What Is Post-Conviction Relief?

In a post-conviction relief (PCR) proceeding, the person who was convicted following a trial or by pleading guilty, known as the petitioner, raises new claims that their trial or plea was unfair. A PCR petition must be filed within two years of the completion of the petitioner’s direct appeal or the date that the sentencing judgment was entered.

Or, in rare, extraordinary occasions, like a change in the law, the petitioner may rely on the escape clause. If the court finds that the grounds for relief asserted in the PCR petition could not have been reasonably raised within the two-year applicable limitation period, the limitation period may be extended.

The petitioner begins the PCR process by filing a PCR petition. This petition sets out claims of error and explains what relief the petitioner seeks. In response, the state files an answer petition responding to the petitioner’s claims.

One of the most common PCR claims is that the defense or appeals attorney did not adequately represent the petitioner during the original trial or direct appeal process.

Post-Conviction Hearings

PCR hearings are open to the public, and the victim has the right to attend. During a PCR proceeding, most of the evidence consists of written material, such as affidavits/declarations, a witness’ sworn statement and other documentary exhibits, such as transcripts from prior court proceedings, depositions, legal memorandums, etc.

PCR proceedings generally last 30 minutes and are conducted before a judge. Typically, the petitioner appears via telephone or videoconferencing. The petitioner may or may not testify during a PCR hearing.

The victim has a right to address the judge; however, this is uncommon, and it is more likely that a victim impact statement will be submitted in writing.

Though every case is different, there are essentially two possible outcomes in a PCR proceeding: the petition for relief is denied (meaning the conviction and sentence are upheld) or the petition for relief is granted, which could result in release, a new trial, modification of the sentence or such other relief as may be proper and just. The court may also make supplementary orders to the relief granted concerning such matters as re-arraignment, retrial, custody and release on security.

If you are seeking a PCR attorney to assist you in filing a petition or representation for a hearing, contact Robert L. Sepp, Attorney at Law, today.

Located in West Linn, Robert L. Sepp, Attorney at Law is proud to represent clients in the Portland metro area, Willamette Valley, Oregon Coast, Bend, Medford, Eugene and throughout the entire state of Oregon.