Between podcasts, on-demand documentaries, and news stories from right here in Florida, you may have heard a lot about wrongfully convicted prisoners getting new trials. Most often these cases involve advancements in scientific testing, including DNA evidence. One of the most famous examples in Florida is the Wilton Dedge case. Dedge was wrongfully convicted of rape and ended up spending 22 years in prison for a crime he did not commit; however, thanks to new DNA evidence, he recently gained his freedom. The Sun Sentinel reports he is now seeking $4.9 million in damages from the state.
Given the high profile coverage of these types of cases, it may seem like new trials are commonly granted. In reality, they rarely occur. The New York Times reports that in 2015, a record-setting 149 people in the United States were found falsely convicted of a crime. Yet 149 people out of the thousands who stand trial each year is an incredibly small percentage. Even so, it can happen.
Getting a New Trial Isn’t Easy
If new evidence has come to light in your case, it may be possible to get a new trial if it fits a very specific set of rules that warrant such action. Therefore, if there is new evidence that could help prove your innocence after a conviction, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible so that they can help determine if the evidence meets the requirements.
Requirements to Grant a New Trial
Under Florida law, new evidence must meet the following requirements for prompting a new trial:
- The evidence was not known at the time of the original trial;
- The evidence is likely to have changed the verdict of the case; and
- The defendant was reasonably unable to produce the evidence during the trial.
It may be difficult for even experienced judges to determine whether a piece of evidence meets these strict requirements, and that is why it is always in a person’s best interest to talk to a criminal defense lawyer for advice. The right lawyer may be able to build a case for the new evidence and can file a motion for a new trial.
Even if a new trial is not granted, get it in the record that new evidence exists as it may become helpful for your case later. Therefore, regardless of the type or quality of evidence, speak to a lawyer. The evidence may be added to, or eventually corroborated by additional new evidence, and then the accurate record will add support for any motion for a new trial.
Is There New Evidence in Your Case?
If you believe there is new evidence in your case that could justify a new trial, contact Khonsari Law Group today. Our legal team is dedicated to helping St. Petersburg residents protect their rights and get fair treatment under Florida law. Call us at (727) 269-5300 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.