Post conviction remedies in Alabama generally start with Motions following a jury verdict of guilt. There are specific timeframes in which motions must be filed and ruled on by the trial judge. Once the post trial motion has been ruled upon, a defendant has forty-two days with which to perfect their direct appeal.
Appeals in Alabama first proceed from the Circuit Court to the Court of Criminal Appeals, located in Montgomery, and possibly through a permissive Writ to the State Supreme Court. It is very important to immediately seek the services of an attorney to handle your appeal should you be convicted and desire to adequately protect the record of any error during the trial so that issues are preserved for appeal. Issues that are not preserved on appeal cannot by law be ruled on by the Appellate Courts.
Rule 32 Petitions are an extraordinary writ filed once your direct appeal has been exhausted or the statute has passed to perfect a direct appeal. A Rule 32 Petition must be filed, under most circumstances, within one year from the date your conviction becomes final. Failure to timely file a Rule 32 Petition can bar you from filing one in the future. In addition, the Court looks very unfavorably on excessive Rule 32 Petitions.
In retaining counsel to file a Rule 32 Petition, you must be very careful to locate counsel who can include all of the necessary issues needed in a Rule 32 Petition based on the court’s disfavor in the filing of successive writs. You should inquire of your attorney how many Rule 32 Petitions or other post conviction Writs they have filed.