Massachusetts Criminal Post-Conviction Relief Attorney

Appellate Attorney William Driscoll is passionate about the protection of individual rights. He assists clients convicted of any criminal charge, including simple assault, gun or drug offenses, rape, arson, and murder.

Collateral attacks are post-conviction actions filed independent of a direct appeal of the underlying conviction. Collateral relief includes motions to revise and revoke a sentence, motions for a new trial, and motions for relief from unlawful restraint. These state court remedies begin by filing a motion in the trial court where the conviction was rendered. If denied, that decision may be the basis for a direct appeal. In addition, federal court relief may be pursued in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (i.e., a petition for habeas corpus).

Revise and Revoke Sentence

The motion seeks to reduce the sentence imposed, without affecting the guilty verdict, because justice may not have been done. The motion must be filed within sixty days of the imposition of sentence, receipt by the trial court of a rescript after appeal, or entry of any order or judgment of an appellate court denying review or having the effect of upholding a judgment of conviction. The potential downside is that the judge could increase the sentence. A full attorney-client discussion of the pros and cons is prudent before filing such a motion.

Seeking a New Trial

The motion challenges whether justice may not have been done. There is no time limit for filing such a motion, but claims not raised in a prior motion may be waived. Waiver does not apply to issues that could not have been raised earlier (e.g., newly discovered evidence that might have affected the jury's verdict). A new trial motion is also the avenue for seeking the withdrawal of a guilty plea. If considering a federal petition for habeas corpus filing, careful coordination is required.

Release From Unlawful Restraint

The motion may seek immediate release or correction of the sentence being served (e.g., when the court sentenced on a crime inconsistent with the jury's verdict slip). The motion may claim violation of other rights (e.g., an interstate detainer violation, a duplicate sentence, consecutive sentences for a single series of acts). There is no time limit on filing such a motion, but claims not raised in a prior motion may be waived. Relief is available when the convicted person is imprisoned or restrained in violation of the state or federal Constitutions or laws.

Contact Appellate Attorney William Driscoll at 978-846-5184 before your rights disappear. Attorney Driscoll pursues post-conviction remedies in the Massachusetts courts and the Supreme Court of the United States.