Have you ever been charged with a crime and wanted to file for a defense of immunity? It is important for your lawyer to file pre-trial motions before the day of trial. No one is perfect and all lawyers make errors. There is a reason it is referred to as the “practice of law”. However, sometimes errors are cost more than others. In this case, the failing to ask for an immunity hearing cost a client a conviction and jail time.
What is even more depressing, is that the appellate court recognized that the client suffered for the error of the lawyer. The appellate court let the conviction stand. The appellate court should have ordered a new trial in this case.
In the case of Martin v. State of Alabama, the defendant was convicted of second-degree assault and received a ten-year sentence. Martin was given a split sentence of 6 months in the county jail and then three years’ probation.
Under the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, a defendant may file a motion to determine if the defendant is entitled to immunity as soon as possible. The lawyer waited until the day of trial to ask for an immunity hearing and the court denied the motion. It is not known whether the court would have ruled for the defendant and granted him immunity from prosecution. However, it is noted that the appellate court referenced that the lawyer waited 23 minutes before the trial started to file the motion. This indicates to me that the motion had some merit.
The most concerning part as a defense lawyer, is why make a client suffer for an error, no one wants to see someone wrongly convicted. It is better to see 100 guilty people go free than jail 1 innocent person.
The moral of this story is make sure your lawyer is filing any pre-trial motions on your behalf.
If you are charged with a crime in Alabama, contact Ingram Law LLC, at (205) 656-0044. We represent client’s throughout Alabama in state and any federal district in the country.