Florida Court Discusses Timeliness of Post-Conviction Motions

People convicted of crimes often believe they have no further recourse. In some cases, however, they may have grounds for arguing that their conviction should be vacated. They must do so within the time constraints established by law, however, otherwise, their request may be denied as untimely, as illustrated in a recent Florida ruling in which the court denied a defendant’s request to vacate his bank fraud and identity theft convictions. If you are accused of committing a white collar crime, it is important to understand your rights, and you should consult a Tampa white collar crime defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was indicted by a federal jury for aiding and abetting bank fraud and aiding and abetting identity theft. He subsequently pleaded guilty to the identity theft offense via a plea agreement; as part of the agreement, he waived the right to appeal his sentence. The defendant was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Over two years later, he filed a motion to vacate his conviction and sentence.

Timeliness of Post-Conviction Motions

The court ultimately denied the defendant’s motion as untimely. The court explained that pursuant to the AEDPA (the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act), a person serving a sentence in a federal prison can move to correct, vacate, or set aside their sentence within a one-year period.

The period begins to run on: the date that the judgment of the conviction becomes final; the date when the right asserted was first recognized by the Supreme Court if it is a newly recognized right; the date on which any governmental action that created a barrier to filing a motion was removed; or, the date when the facts in support of the claim could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence, whichever is later.

In most instances, the triggering date is the date when the judgment of conviction is final. In other words, the other statutory trigger dates are often the exception instead of the norm. When the statute of limitations begins to run is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

In the subject case, the court found that as the defendant filed his motion more than two years after his sentence and conviction were final, and he did not allege facts showing that any of the alternative statutory trigger dates should apply or that the statute of limitations should be equitably tolled, it was untimely. Thus, the court denied the motion.

Meet with a Trusted Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney

Although white collar crimes do not typically harm people, they are nonetheless serious offenses that come with substantial penalties. If you are charged with identity theft or any other white collar offense, it is advisable to meet with an attorney. The trusted Tampa lawyers of Hanlon Law can advise you of your potential defenses and help you to seek the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can reach Hanlon Law via the form online or at 813-228-7095 to set up a meeting.