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If I took a plea bargain 9 years ago at the age of 17 for a crime I didn't commit can I have the case reopened to clear my name?

Atlanta, GA |

The crime is a serious offense, however I was ill advised and now that I have better knowledge I am wanting to explore my options. I was looking at almost 80 years, for a crime I did not commit so I took the bargain to preserve my life. 80 years was a scary thought at 17, knowing what I know now, there was no evidence, and I probably would have come out better going to trial. I was afraid, and did not want to take that gamble. I did two years in prison which has consequently destroyed my reputation, I am not able to find a good job or live where I please. This makes my 8th year on probation, I need help figuring out the steps I should take if any, to get my life back.

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Attorney answers 3


You cannot reopen a case after 9 years to clear your name. Once you plead guilty and get sentenced, and once the time for appeal has expired, the conviction is final. After 9 years, it would be impossible for the prosecutor to put his case back together in order to try you. There is very little that you can do now.


Unfortunately, you only have four years from the date of the sentence to challenge the plea through a habeas corpus petition. Unless you weren't properly advised of this at the time of the plea on record, you dont have any way to challenge your conviction at this point.

You may want to spend some time drafting a really thoughtful letter that you send with job applications, etc, in order to explain how you've learned from the situation and are a better person now from the experience. There are also re-entry organizations that help with this very problem. It surely isn't an easy one.



If this was a case involving dna then there is a chance this person could be exonerated without a time limit.


No, but you can ask for a pardon someday if you can prove you are innocent. Having pled guilty, the burden shifts to you to show how you were innocent, and it is a real uphill battle.