View Full Version : Post Conviction Relief lawyers


beginningover
12-18-2010, 10:03 AM
Does anyone know of a Post Conviction Relief lawyer in Florida?

TxTornado
12-20-2010, 07:49 PM
Let me know if you find a good one...I have not had any luck finding this information either...it is a bit hard as I am in Texas! Thanks!

lin787
12-22-2010, 05:00 PM
jmo there are lots of them, they promise you then take your money and your inmate is right back where he started. (I think if they have to wait in jail, they also loose any gain time for that month)

beginningover
12-22-2010, 10:48 PM
Hey just wanted to give some info that I recently received from my man's cousin that is currently locked up. He was sentenced to life in prison (Florida) for several different crimes and he was guilty of all of them, he was a dope dealer, gangster he was charged with attempted murder all kinds of things. He has been down 10 years and just got back from court with his sentence reduced to 15 years, so that means that he will get out in 3 1/2 more years if he behaves. When I asked him what he did to get his sentence reduced he said that he tells everyone with alot of time to put aside the BS and study their own case and all the old and new case law that may or may not have anything to do with your case...he recommends hiring a prison law clerk and assisting them with everything and then once your man is granted an evidentiary hearing that is when you hire a lawyer to take over. He said no lawyer will care about his case like you or he does, your man was there and the lawyer wan't so you may read something in case law that you may find happened in your case that a lawyer may not look twice at. He also gave me the name of a Appelate specialist who he recommends, I don't have his letter with me but as soon as I get it, I will post the name he gave me.

Paralegal USA
12-26-2010, 09:25 AM
Hey just wanted to give some info that I recently received from my man's cousin that is currently locked up. He was sentenced to life in prison (Florida) for several different crimes and he was guilty of all of them, he was a dope dealer, gangster he was charged with attempted murder all kinds of things. He has been down 10 years and just got back from court with his sentence reduced to 15 years, so that means that he will get out in 3 1/2 more years if he behaves. When I asked him what he did to get his sentence reduced he said that he tells everyone with alot of time to put aside the BS and study their own case and all the old and new case law that may or may not have anything to do with your case...he recommends hiring a prison law clerk and assisting them with everything and then once your man is granted an evidentiary hearing that is when you hire a lawyer to take over. He said no lawyer will care about his case like you or he does, your man was there and the lawyer wan't so you may read something in case law that you may find happened in your case that a lawyer may not look twice at. He also gave me the name of a Appelate specialist who he recommends, I don't have his letter with me but as soon as I get it, I will post the name he gave me.

While true is that many attorneys care about nothing more than their retainer when it comes to post-conviction criminal cases, not true is your statement that “no lawyer will care about his case like you or he does”. To be sure, though far and few between, there are in fact some post-conviction criminal attorneys who are thoroughly committed to exacting justice for those who stand wrongfully convicted, or who suffer some other gross miscarriage of justice, including, but not limited to, unconscionably severe sentencing for relatively non-serious crimes.

Prison law clerks sufficiently knowledgeable and competent in the law to be of meaningful assistance, are extremely rare. Most have the tendency to interpret the law the way they want it to read, not the way it actually does read. Time after time after time a prison inmate law clerk will do more harm than good to another inmate’s case. And in Florida, there are severe repercussions. I have posted several recent Florida appellate court cases substantiating this at http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=497164 (http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=497164). There you will see that not only are inmates being barred from filing further post-conviction motions themselves (usually with assistance of a prison inmate law clerk), but in addition, they are being subjected to serious prison disciplinary proceedings for filing what the courts consider “frivolous” pleadings.

Your thought, based on the apparent recommendation of your man’s cousin that one should wait until after being granted an evidentiary hearing before retaining post-conviction counsel, is horrible advice. Necessary to being granted an evidentiary hearing on a Rule 3.850 motion is that the motion be pled in such a way as to preempt conclusion that the ground(s) raised are not conclusively refuted by the record. The judge makes that determination preliminarily, and if ordered by the court that the State reply to the grounds raised, the prosecutor has the opportunity to convince the judge in the answer that the record does in fact refute the arguments the inmate advances. A good lawyer is far better suited to plead an issue in such a way as to survive summary dismissal than the inmate and/or his prison law clerk assistant is. To this there can be no argument.

Being afforded an evidentiary hearing on a Rule 3.850 motion is critical to eventually succeeding in reversing the conviction. If an evidentiary hearing is not ordered, the chances of success on a state level are all but nonexistent. And even if later successful before a federal tribunal, the fact remains that years will have elapsed between the time of filing before a state court and eventual favorable order by a federal tribunal. Years … unnecessarily served in prison when the inmate could have been home with his family and loved ones.

Contrary to common belief, a post-conviction motion is not reviewed and considered by a judge. Instead it is reviewed by a judge’s judicial assistant, who recommends to the judge what to rule. Almost always the judge will follow their assistant’s recommendation. Human nature dictates that a judicial assistant will afford much more serious consideration to a pleading drafted and filed by a licensed attorney than to one drafted and submitted by a pro se layman litigant; one usually filled with misspelled words, inapplicable legal citations, etc. It therefore makes no sense whatsoever to be disadvantaged by a J.A. from the very outset when the J.A.’s initial thought and recommendation is so determinative of the course the case will follow thereafter.

I would never recommend that an inmate challenging his or her criminal conviction rely on their own interpretation of the law, nor would I ever recommend that they rely on the assistance of an inmate prison law clerk for a Rule 3.850 motion or other post-conviction remedy such as a habeas based on ineffective assistance of appellate counsel under FRAP 9.141(c). The stakes are too high and the consequences of procedural error too serious. The best chances of success are undeniably realized through the employment of a knowledgeable and conscientious professional post-conviction criminal law specialist licensed to practice law. There are, in fact, a few in Florida that care deeply about the inmate suffering injustice.

pcrwriter
01-02-2011, 03:26 AM
Although I currently work as a contract paralegal for an attorney who specializes in post-conviction cases, over the last 20 years I have worked for several attorneys in various parts of Florida.

Before I would recommend an attorney, I would like to know:



What County did the person's conviction occur in?
What month & year was the person convicted?
Did the person take a direct appeal?

If so, has that appeal been decided yet & when?
Did the appellate court write an opinion?

The typical lowest fee charged by most of the attorneys to whom I would be referring you would be at least $5,000 for reviewing the person's case, preparing/filing a post-conviction motion, and appear at any hearings scheduled on the motion. Are you capable of paying such a fee or arranging a payment plan?

You may contact me at my email address below or via this thread.Good luck in your efforts - REMEMBER, sometimes you do NOT get what you ask for.:blah:

pcrwriter
01-02-2011, 05:30 AM
[quote=Paralegal USA;5852698]

As a former Florida DOC "certified" law clerk who has had the good fortune to have used that experience to gain a job nearly 20 years ago as a paralegal on this side of the fence. I now work exclusively for several Florida attorneys doing post-conviction & federal habeas corpus cases, and while I fully agree with much of what Paralegal USA posted, I mus add the following comments:

Prison law clerks sufficiently knowledgeable and competent in the law to be of meaningful assistance, are extremely rare. Most have the tendency to interpret the law the way they want it to read, not the way it actually does read. Time after time after time a prison inmate law clerk will do more harm than good to another inmate’s case. And in Florida, there are severe repercussions.

The picture is actually gloomier than Paralegal USA paints. While a prisoner assigned as a Law Clerk Trainee (and thereby enrolled in the "Law Clerk Training Program") has preferably earned a GED, all that the DOC's rules actually require is that the prisoner have attained a subset score of 9.0 or higher in Language and Reading on the Test of Adult Basic Education (the "T.A.B.E." test). Over the years, the "Training Program" has quite frequently changed, it now consists of a coursebook with 12 or so chapters dealing with a range of topics, beginning with learning how to find the law, to specific chapters on preparing inmate grievances, etc. To my knowledge, the "Training Program" was never prepared by anyone with an educational background, and indeed, has never been approved by a recognized educational institutional program in Florida (or elsewhere). In my experience and opinion, this "training" program falls far short of training a prisoner with a 9th grade or even a 12th grade education, how to competently analyze a person's particular legal situation - be it based in criminal post-conviction, federal civil rights, or even Florida family law. All it does is elevate the status of a few chosen prisoners to having achieved some level of mastery of the law, which they more often than not DO NOT POSSESS.

The Program is largely the product of the efforts of former Florida attorney Barry Rhodes, who worked for the DOC in their Central Office as the Law Library Supervisor. Ironically, at the time that he was hired by the DOC as a Librarian years ago, his license to practice law had been suspended for not paying the Florida Bar more than $3,000 it assessed in costs in the last disciplinary action brought against him, which if I recall correctly, he failed to inform a client that her personal injury lawsuit had been dismissed due to his failure to file it before the statutes of limitation had run.

Upon a prisoner successfully completing all the chapter tests. Mr. Rhodes would award them a Certificate attesting to their completion of the program, and upon earning that certificate, the "certified" clerk would be given a desk within the law library at which they could then practice their incompetency - with the DOC's blessing - upon the poor prisoners who happen their way. Paralegal USA does not emphasize enough the fact that in most cases, a "certified" prison law clerk more often than not unaware of his own incompetence simply because he (or she) might be amongst the "smartest" inmates at an institution. More so, there incompetence may not come to light for years to come, and in the meantime they will have caused untold harm along the way by "advising" a prisoner to file a post-conviction motion asserting frivolous claims when another viable claim was starring the clerk in the face all along. As with other legal remedies, because a prisoner only gets one bite of the apple, once their post-conviction motion is decided, that is it, the prisoner is forever barred from filing another motion again.


Contrary to common belief, a post-conviction motion is not reviewed and considered by a judge. Instead it is reviewed by a judge’s judicial assistant, who recommends to the judge what to rule. Almost always the judge will follow their assistant’s recommendation.

I am not sure what state Paralegal USA is speaking of, but this is certainly NOT the case in Florida. A "Judicial Assistant" is the judge's executive secretary, who helps to maintain the court's motion calender (usually a day or half-day every week which the judge sets aside for orally hearinga party's motion), drafts & then mails out orders after the judge signs them, and who sometimes has to respond to letters written to the judge by an unrepresented party. In larger counties, judges are increasingly relying upon staff attorneys who are made available to several judges to make an initial assessment of post-conviction motions, and yes, judges more often than not follow the disposition suggested or advised by the staff attorney. Some judges have a standardized set of orders, one of which they may instruct their judicial assistant to use in denying a given post-conviction motion presenting certain types of issues.

The bigger issue not mentioned by Paralegal USA is that when a judge denies a post-conviction motion, often times that denial is appropriate, given the prisoner's failure to present a viable, cognizable post-conviction claim. Not every defendant has a basis to collaterally challenge their guilty plea or jury trial. Post-conviction relief is the exception, not the rule.

Otherwise, I commend Paralegal USA for his informative post.

Paralegal USA
01-02-2011, 10:25 AM
Contrary to common belief, a post-conviction motion is not reviewed and considered by a judge. Instead it is reviewed by a judge’s judicial assistant, who recommends to the judge what to rule. Almost always the judge will follow their assistant’s recommendation.

I am not sure what state Paralegal USA is speaking of, but this is certainly NOT the case in Florida. A "Judicial Assistant" is the judge's executive secretary, who helps to maintain the court's motion calender (usually a day or half-day every week which the judge sets aside for orally hearinga party's motion), drafts & then mails out orders after the judge signs them, and who sometimes has to respond to letters written to the judge by an unrepresented party. In larger counties, judges are increasingly relying upon staff attorneys who are made available to several judges to make an initial assessment of post-conviction motions, and yes, judges more often than not follow the disposition suggested or advised by the staff attorney. Some judges have a standardized set of orders, one of which they may instruct their judicial assistant to use in denying a given post-conviction motion presenting certain types of issues.

I used the term Judicial Assistant loosely. You are correct that in Florida, it is staff attorneys that review filings and make recommendations to the assigned judges. In many other jurisdictions, the functional equivalent of a staff attorney in Florida is known as a judicial assistant. A judge's secretary is the one scheduling hearings, etc.

The typical lowest fee charged by most of the attorneys to whom I would be referring you would be at least $5,000 for reviewing the person's case, preparing/filing a post-conviction motion, and appear at any hearings scheduled on the motion.

The post-conviction attorneys I work on a contract basis with in Florida that are deserving of my referrals also charge a minimum of $5,000 for review, pleadings and court appearance ... that fee would apply to plea cases only, however. For convictions entered following trial, they would charge considerably more.

I am familiar with many Florida attorneys who hold themselves out as being post-conviction criminal law specialists. Very few of them, however, are worthy of my referrals. Some are not all that familiar with the criminal post-conviction laws and rules in Florida, some are not at all familiar with AEDPA, and more yet are more concerned more with raping a client for a new burnished walnut desk or a C-Class Mercedes purchase than they are with their client's rights and unjust convictions. It is because of those reasons that I am very particular as to what attorneys I refer people to. In order for me to make a referral to a post-conviction attorney, whether in Florida or elsewhere, the attorney has to first demonstrate to me:

1) That they are in fact knowledgeable in the state statutes,rules and decisional law governing post-conviction relief;

2) That they are equally knowledgeable in AEDPA and are able to properly preserve for federal review under 28 USC 2254 the arguments advanced before the state courts;

3) That they are not about to over-charge a client or a client's loved one;

4) That they are honest; and

5) That they are communicative.

Attorneys satisfying the above prerequisites are indeed few, yet they do exist.

davidsgirl84
03-18-2011, 07:08 AM
I am so glad I found this thread! My fiance is in prison currentlly serving a prison sentence which he took a plea deal in. He was sentenced in 07 but started serving it in 10 (delay = he was serving time on another crime). Anyway, he was reviewing his score sheet and it says he has a burglary of a dwelling (robbed a house, burglary of a dwelling (robbed the storage shed out back) and burglary of a dwelling- LIO. We didn't know what the last one meant but then we figured out that it was because the first BOD that I mentioned had orig. been BOD w/ armed (he took a gun from the house). That charged was dropped. AND THEY STUCK HIM WITH THE BOD -LIO. Which added 20 months to his sentence. He only broke into two dwellings. Didn't they punish him twice for the same crime? He want's to file a motion but wants to do it through a law clerk at the prison. The SAME law clerk who prepared a motion for a year of jail credit that got denied yesterday. I don't think we can do anything about that but I def don't want to leave another 20 months in a prison law clerks hands. This case was in Suwannee County. It was a juvenille case. I have all the papers here at the house if anyone gets bored and wants to see them. Thanks!

josefk_bop
03-15-2013, 01:53 PM
Although I currently work as a contract paralegal for an attorney who specializes in post-conviction cases, over the last 20 years I have worked for several attorneys in various parts of Florida.

Before I would recommend an attorney, I would like to know:



What County did the person's conviction occur in?
What month & year was the person convicted?
Did the person take a direct appeal?

If so, has that appeal been decided yet & when?
Did the appellate court write an opinion?


The typical lowest fee charged by most of the attorneys to whom I would be referring you would be at least $5,000 for reviewing the person's case, preparing/filing a post-conviction motion, and appear at any hearings scheduled on the motion. Are you capable of paying such a fee or arranging a payment plan?

You may contact me at my email address below or via this thread.Good luck in your efforts - REMEMBER, sometimes you do NOT get what you ask for.:blah:

I just stumbled into this post. I have been trying to find a paralegal for months. Perhaps you can give me some pointers. I will need to file a 2255 motion pro se. I need to find a good paralegal with proven experience to help me with it.
Thank you for any assistance you can give me.