Minnesota Appeals: Time restrictions for post-conviction relief

Published On: 25th January 2012

In a decision filed today in the Minnesota Supreme Court case of Colbert v. State of Minnesota, the Court affirmed the dismissal of the petition as the claims raised were untimely. This is not a particularly noteworthy case, but it is a good illustration of the harsh consequences of failing to challenge convictions and appeals within the time requirements.

Minnesota law requires a petition challenging the conviction to be filed no later than two years after the conviction if there was no direct appeal, or within two years of the appellate court disposing of a direct appeal.

There are a few exceptions to that time requirement, including:

  1. Physical disability or mental disease precluded a timely assertion of the claim;
  2. The discovery of new evidence that could not have been discovered by due diligence within the two-year time period;
  3. There is a new interpretation of federal or state constitutional or statutory law by the United States Supreme Court or a Minnesota appellate court that is retroactively applicable to the claim;
  4. There has been a significant change in substantive or procedural law that should be applied retroactively to a sentence and conviction for a crime committed before May 1, 1980; or
  5. The petitioner establishes that the post-conviction relief is not frivolous and is in the interests of justice.

However, even if an appeal is based on one these exceptions, the petition must filed within two years of learning of the claim fitting an exception.

Colbert asserted the fifth, “interests of justice,” exception. However, his challenges were based on testimony, evidence, and statements made during his 2005 trial. Therefore, the Court found any new claims raised by Colbert were untimely as knowledge of these new claims would have occurred no later than 2006.

If you are seeking an appeal or post-conviction relief from a conviction, do not wait to contact an experienced Minnesota appeals attorney. Contact the Law Office of Coley Grostyan now at (612) 747-2254 to schedule an initial office consultation and case assessment.

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Minnesota Appeals: Time restrictions for post-conviction relief
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