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Lisa writes petitions for post-conviction relief in all Arizona superior courts.  She also writes petitions for review for petitions for post-conviction relief in the Arizona Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Arizona.


A petitioner (defendant) who pled guilty or no contest to a felony or felonies and was sentenced in Superior Court usually takes the following appellate route:


  • Petition for Post-Conviction Relief to Superior Court before the sentencing judge;


  • Petition for Review to Arizona Court of Appeals after denial of Petition for Post-Conviction Relief in Superior Court;


  • Petition for Review to Arizona Supreme Court after denial of Petition for Review in Arizona Court of Appeals;


  • Federal Habeas Corpus Petition for Review filed in U.S. Federal District Court for the District of Arizona after denial of Petition for review in Arizona Supreme Court.


Since a defendant who pled guilty or no contest didn’t have a trial, he or she does not have the right to appeal his or her conviction.  The Petition for Post-Conviction Relief is limited to constitutional errors concerning the plea, plea agreement, plea agreement proceedings, and the sentencing because appellant waived his or her trial rights by agreeing to plead guilty or no contest.


Rule 32 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure apply to petitions for post-conviction relief (PCR).  Rule 32.1 lists the following grounds for relief that may be argued in a timely, first PCR:


  • constitutional errors that violated either the U.S. Constitution or the Arizona Constitution;


  • judgment or sentence was imposed by a court with no jurisdiction to do so;


  • sentence imposed exceeded the maximum authorized by law or was otherwise not in accordance with sentence authorized by law;


  • petitioner being held in custody after sentence imposed has expired;


  •  newly discovered material facts probably exist and such facts probably would have changed the verdict or sentence;


  • A significant change in the law that if determined to apply to petitioner’s case would probably overturn the petitioner’s conviction or sentence;


  • Defendant demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the facts underlying the claim would be sufficient to establish that no reasonable fact-finder would find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the death penalty would not have been imposed.


Rule 32.4 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure states that the filing of a Notice of Post-Conviction Relief in the court where the petitioner was convicted starts the PCR process.  The Notice of Post-Conviction Relief must generally be filed within 90 days of the petitioner’s sentencing pursuant to a plea agreement or 30 days after issuance of the order and mandate in an appeal.  Failure to timely file a Notice of Post-Conviction Relief means that the petitioner is precluded (forbidden) from arguing that any part of  his plea agreement proceeding, trial or sentencing was unconstitutional or illegal or that the court did not have jurisdiction to render a judgment or impose sentence on petitioner.  In other words, a petitioner who does not file a timely Notice of Post-Conviction Relief is forbidden from arguing ineffective assistance of counsel and illegal sentence.    




Lisa was hired to write a Reply to a timely, first Petition for Post-Conviction Relief.  It was the last chance for the petitioner to argue ineffective assistance of counsel and newly discovered evidence.  Lisa reviewed a witness’s cell phone records in the case and discovered that three calls that were supposedly made only minutes before the victim opened her door and was shot dead were actually made three hours before.  In other words, the victim was not on the phone with the witness claiming that defendant was outside pounding on her door right before she was shot.  Lisa argued that petitioner’s trial attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to find this out and that her discovery was newly discovered evidence that mandated that the Maricopa County Superior Court judge overturn petitioner’s conviction for first degree murder.  The judge agreed with Lisa and overturned his conviction for first degree murder.       


Preparing and filing a petition for post-conviction relief is full of traps for the inexperienced attorney.  Lisa is an experienced, passionate and detail-oriented PCR attorney.   Please call LisaLaw, LLC or fill out the online form for a free case review.

Lisa Witt is a Mesa/Phoenix, Arizona Post Conviction relief (PCR) attorney serving clients in the East Valley, West Valley, Maricopa County, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon,  Tucson, Queen Creek, Gilbert, Casa Grande, Surprise, Goodyear, Buckeye, Youngtown, Ahwatukee, Avondale, Tolleson.

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