Wrongly Convicted And Innocent in Des Moines?
Sometimes, innocent people plead guilty. Sometimes, judges and juries convict innocent people.
Frequently, people call to find out whether or not they can expunge their records or have their convictions overturned.
Prior to 2018, the veracity of a plea of guilty couldn't be contested during Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) proceedings -- defendants could only argue about whether their plea had been "knowing and voluntary." Under federal law, defendants aren't entitled to raise claims of actual innocence on PCR if there's a State way to provide for pardons. (Good luck getting a pardon in Iowa -- only ~3-10% of applications for pardons tend to get approved in any given year.)
In 2018, however, the Schmidt v. State opinion determined that under the Iowa Constitution, defendants have a right to make a "freestanding claim of actual innocence."
Iowa Code 822.2(1)(d) isn't exactly a panacea, but it's something that the wrongly convicted can look to for the possibility of relief.
Were there material facts that weren't presented and heard during your trial or criminal proceedings? Do you have evidence of those facts? Do those facts require throwing out your conviction or sentence "in the interest of justice?"
To win on a freestanding claim of actual innocence, you will have to prove "by clear and convincing evidence" that no reasonable fact-finder (judge or jury) could have convicted you if they had had all of the information. This is a high bar.
At trial, the State had to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you apply for post-conviction relief and claim that you're actually innocent, you now have to show your innocence instead of the State having to prove that you are guilty.
There's a statute of limitations for three years unless there's some reason you couldn't have raised the issue within that period. "My attorney didn't tell me about this" doesn't extend the limitation.