Post-conviction relief is a procedure that allows the defendant in a criminal case to bring more evidence or raise additional issues in a case after a judgment has been made (post-trial). With valid grounds, post-conviction relief can help a convicted individual obtain a fair resolution in their case.
As an independent and autonomous part of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) conducts objective reviews of final convictions to determine whether some manifest injustice has occurred that may be corrected by the procedures provided by post-conviction law.
Post-conviction relief comes in two forms: equitable relief and legal relief.
Equitable relief may be granted if:
- the conviction is not contested, but
- the client presents a compelling and/or sympathetic situation. (Why does this person deserve relief? What is keeping this person from taking their next steps? How has this person changed since the offense (treatment, counseling, etc)? Letters from the community in support of relief are key here.
Legal relief may be granted if:
- there has been a conviction, and
- there is a credible legal claim (e.g., My attorney didn’t communicate with me. New evidence or evidence that went untested at the time of my trial shows that I'm innocent, etc.).
When a case is accepted, the CIU prepares an internal proposal/memorandum and presents it to the District Attorney for approval.
Even if a case does not end in an exoneration or an expunction, it can still be beneficial to the applicant.
- The CIU cannot review every case where there is a bare claim of innocence.
- There is no magic formula; each case is different.
- The CIU cannot give legal advice to a defendant or a defendant's family members.
- It would be best to have your claim presented by a lawyer who is experienced in post-conviction criminal work.
- The Innocence Project of Texas and similar organizations can be extremely helpful in presenting new claims.
- The more proof that a conviction was wrongful, the more likely we are to review the case. Documents that support that claim are also helpful.
- When CIU accepts a case for review, it will be open-minded and objective.
Click here to learn more and submit a case for review.