RaquinMercer Law Offices
“The Defense Never Rests.”

Post-Conviction Proceedings

RaquinMercer LLC has extensive experience with collateral challenges to Maryland state court convictions and sentences, and federal habeas cases. Steve and Isabelle approach their representation of a client in post-conviction proceedings with the firm belief that successful claims can only be identified through complete preparation and precise execution in an evidentiary hearing. Steve has successfully obtained post-conviction relief of a new trial from murder convictions and other serious crimes, such as rape, sex offenses and abuse. Steve’s particular area of expertise include challenges involving DNA/forensic science, but his success also extends to non-DNA/forensic science claims of wrongful conviction.

Broadly defined, a post-conviction proceeding may involve a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence, a petition under the Maryland Post-Conviction Procedures Act, a Writ of Actual Innocence, a Petition for Post-Conviction DNA testing, or a petition for a common law writ such as habeas corpus, arrest of judgment, and corem nobis. Although Maryland has unified the procedures for many of the post-conviction challenges and most of the historic common law writs, a complex set of rules govern waiver of these claims with many opportunities for a default to occur. Also, because of the tension between a collateral attack on a judgment of conviction and the State’s interest in the finality of a judgment, the substantive law that defines these claims is constantly evolving—and often not in helpful ways. For all of these reasons, success in a post-conviction proceedings requires extensive trial, appellate, and post-conviction experience.

Contact RaquinMercer LLC to speak with Steve and Isabelle about your post-conviction case.

DNA/Forensic Science: Trials, Appeals, Post-Convictions

You may not be aware of it yet, but your case probably involves DNA/forensic science. DNA/forensic science may include any of the following types of evidence frequently introduced during a trial: fingerprints, cell phone/GPS location information, digital/computer evidence, firearm/toolmark comparisons, arson, cause/manner of death, trace evidence, hair/fiber, medical diagnoses of non-accidental trauma, sexual assault examinations and forensic interviews of children, breath, blood or urine tests for alcohol or drugs, and forensic analysis of suspected CDS.

It takes advanced knowledge of science and the law to identify the problem with DNA/forensic science in your case and to develop solutions. It is often the most powerful form of evidence against you. RaquinMercer has the expertise to review, challenge, and confront the DNA/forensic science in your case. We litigate DNA/forensic science issues at trial, on appeal, and in post-conviction, in prosecutions for murder, rape, child abuse (physical and sexual), sexual offenses, robbery, burglary, assault, drug possession and distribution, weapons charges, theft, fraud, DUI/traffic cases, and violations of parole and probation.

Contact RaquinMercer LLC to speak with Steve and Isabelle about the DNA/forensic science evidence in your case.

Grounds for postconviction relief

After a conviction, it may seem as if the only option remaining is to serve the sentence that the judge orders. However, the judge's orders are not always the final word in the case. The American Bar Association explains that the law allows the defendant to challenge...

DISCRETIONARY DECISIONS IN JUVENILE COURT

Last time, we saw how juvenile delinquency cases are heard in Montgomery County, with a look back at the unique history here.  Today, I examine how these judges have extraordinary discretion to essentially make or break the lives of juveniles in the county.  Before...

How reliable is eyewitness testimony?

If facing criminal charges and you learned the authorities have an eyewitness, your heart likely sank. Judges and juries have long placed significant weight on the testimony of people who witnessed alleged crimes. However, many factors may affect the reliability of...

WHO ARE THE JUVENILE JUDGES IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY?

When I was assigned to the juvenile rotation in 2013, a fellow judge in Baltimore City told me that this would be the most important work I would do as a judge.  I believed her then and I found it to be true. Juveniles can be put on a better path so they do not...