Florida Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction
Former Prosecutor with 25 Years of Experience
Appeals Lawyer
Former Prosecutor with 25 Years of Experience
Appeals Lawyer

Second degree murder conviction vacated on appeal!

posted 2017 | B.H. v. State (Update)

The client, along with two other boys, were arrested and charged with second degree murder and two counts of attempted second degree murder.  All three defendants were convicted and sentenced to prison. The client was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The client filed an appeal seeking a new trial based upon defective jury instructions.  The appellate court denied the appeal.  No motion for rehearing was filed.

However, the co-defendant, whose appeal was completed after the client’s appeal, did receive the benefit of the erroneous jury instruction.  His case was pending before the Florida Supreme Court.  Mr. Forman was hired by the Client’s family to handle the case even though the appellate process had already been exhausted. This was done just in case the co-defendant prevailed in the Florida Supreme Court.

Mr. Forman filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in order to correct a manifest injustice in the appellate court.  Even though the attorney general’s office vigorously opposed the petition, the Fourth District Court of Appeals granted the petition and ordered that the client be given a new trial for the attempted second degree murder charges. This would allow the client to be re-sentenced or retried before another jury on the vacated charge. 

However, the Florida Supreme Court just reversed the co-defendant’s case that was before the Florida Supreme Court. The court ordered that all of the co-defendant’s convictions be vacated. Mr. Forman filed a motion in the appellate court seeking the same relief as his co-defendant.  The appellate court granted the motion! As a result of Mr. Forman’s previous petition and this motion, his client’s murder conviction was also vacated. All of the client’s convictions were overturned on appeal! Without Mr. Forman’s knowledge and understanding of the appellate process, his client’s convictions would still remain. Client will be brought back to court for a trial or negotiated plea and is obviously very happy.

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