The law provides Arizona defendants with certain avenues of relief after a criminal conviction. While there are restrictions regarding what types of cases and issues are appealable, many defendants can challenge a conviction or sentence. If one has completed their sentence, they may be eligible to restore their civil rights by setting aside a criminal conviction. Appeals are much more complicated than criminal trials, and the proceedings require a comprehensive understanding of complex statutory and procedural rules.
The main types of conviction-review mechanisms are post-conviction relief and direct appeals. Once a court convicts and sentences a party, a defendant has the right to file a motion for post-conviction relief. These petitions are filed with the same trial court that issued the initial ruling. The Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure (ARCP) designate the appealable issues permitted in these petitions. Specifically, Rule 32 provides an avenue for relief after the defendant has been found guilty or sentenced at a probation violation proceeding. Moreover, Rule 33 pertains to situations where a defendant pled guilty. The majority of these petitions assert ineffective assistance of counsel claims.
For instance, the Arizona Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in a defendant’s petition to review a trial court’s order dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief. The appeal arose after a jury trial convicted the defendant of aggravated domestic violence, criminal damage, and influencing a witness in two consolidated cases. The defendant argued that his counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the consolidation.