prison bars

Post-Conviction Relief

Virginia is so certain "its criminal justice system works correctly the first time that the Virginia Supreme Court has all but closed the door on the right of those convicted to prove their innocence after conviction." Except in very limited circumstances -- a not guilty plea and new evidence establishing innocence -- defendants have only 21-days after sentencing to seek meaningful relief from the court that convicted them. Further, rates of reversal by Virginia's higher courts are among the very lowest in the country, and the Commonwealth is frequently committed to fighting exonerations, even when substantial evidence supports them.