Post-conviction (commonly referred to as “PCR”) is the legal process by which an individual can seek to vacate a conviction or adjust their sentence. In Federal Court, it is defined as a Writ of Habeas Corpus and in New Jersey it is governed under New Jersey Court Rule 3:22. The common grounds for post-conviction relief are as follows:
- Ineffective assistance of counsel
- Newly discovered evidence
- Misapplication of jail and gap-time credit
- Illegal sentence
- Lack of jurisdiction
There are other grounds for relief, yet the grounds will vary on each individual’s case. There are many jail house lawyers that purport to be “PCR attorneys” and understand the law in this area. These individuals often give your loved ones who are incarcerated incorrect legal advice in this area. Do not allow those purporting to know the law in this area render a legal opinion on your loved one’s rights on post-conviction relief. He or she should seek professional legal advice in this area.
Mr. Pastacaldi specializes in post-conviction relief, and he has successfully vacated pleas and overturned convictions that were unconstitutional in courts throughout New Jersey. In the Rodney Roberts case, Mr. Pastacaldi received national praise for vacating a 17 year conviction and exonerating Mr. Roberts for a rape and kidnapping he did not commit. Feel free to review other successful results on post-conviction relief below.
If your loved one is incarcerated, you should contact Mr. Pastacaldi regarding his or her options on post-conviction relief. For a reasonable consultation fee, Mr. Pastacaldi will meet with your love one at his or her correctional facility and evaluate his or her case on post-conviction relief.
Post-Conviction Relief Results
Post-Conviction Relief Result #1 – In 1996, Rodney Roberts was charged with rape and kidnapping in Essex County, New Jersey. Despite being innocent, Rodney Roberts pled guilty to kidnapping after his public defender told him the 17 year old victim picked him out from a lineup. Seventeen years later with the help of Mr. Pastacaldi and DNA evidence, Mr. Roberts would be exonerated and released from civil commitment. For Rodney’s full story, you may click on the link to reference the 2014 New Jersey Law Journal article.
Post-conviction Relief Result #2 – Client was a non-citizen from Macedonia who pled guilty to distribution of a controlled dangerous substance charge in 2003 in Passaic County, New Jersey and received a probationary sentence. In 2018, he was detained ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) who sought to deport him due to this conviction. Client retained Mr. Pastacaldi who filed a post-conviction relief petition in Passaic County Superior Court. After filing a detailed brief with documents supporting an ineffective assistance of counsel claim of client’s trial attorney, who misrepresented his deportation consequences. After reviewing Mr. Pastacaldi’s submissions, the prosecutor agreed to vacate the conviction.
Post-conviction Relief Result #3 – Client was a non-citizen from Costa Rica who pled guilty to the crime of using a false driver’s, a third degree offense, in Somerset County Superior Court in 2003. In 2018, ICE detained him and sought his deportation due to this conviction. Client retained Mr. Pastacaldi who reviewed his criminal file and saw that his first attorney had never advised him of his right to enter the Pre-trial Intervention program, which would have ultimately dismissed the charges against him. Mr. Pastacaldi filed the post-conviction relief petition alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The judge granted the post-conviction relief petition, and he vacated the conviction. The charges were later dismissed.
Post-Conviction Relief Result #4 – Client was a non-citizen from Latvia who was on the verge of deportation due to a 2010 conviction in Hudson County Superior for distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. He had been in ICE custody for over a year when he retained Mr. Pastacaldi who filed a post-conviction relief petition in Hudson County Superior Court. The judge granted the petition and vacated the conviction after finding a “manifest injustice” in the plea process. After this decision, client was released from ICE custody.
Post-Conviction Relief Result #5 – Client was a legal permanent resident of the United States and had come the United States when he was a small boy with his mother from Jamaica. He was now in his 40’s, and he resided in Bergen County, New Jersey with his wife and two children. In 2017, client was detained by ICE due to a 2004 conviction for distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. He retained Mr. Pastacaldi who obtained all the necessarily criminal records to file a petition for post-conviction relief. Mr. Pastacaldi filed the post-conviction relief petition showing that client was never advised of the deportation consequences of the plea. Upon review of the petition, the prosecutor agreed to vacate the conviction. ICE then dismissed the deportation case against the client.
Post-Conviction Relief Result #6 – A Peruvian Client was a legal permanent resident who was in ICE deportation proceedings due to a distribution of a controlled dangerous substances conviction in Hudson County. On post-conviction relief and represented by Mr. Pastacaldi, the judge vacated the conviction due to the client not being properly advised of the immigration consequences associated with the guilty plea. The ICE proceedings were dismissed, and the client was not deported.
Post-Conviction Relief Result #7 – Client was in ICE deportation proceedings due to a conviction in Fort Lee municipal court due to a possession of marijuana conviction in 2005. Mr. Pastacaldi filed the post-conviction relief, and the court vacated the conviction after it was determined the client was never told about the deportation consequences of his plea.
Post-Conviction Relief Result #8 – Client was incarcerated on a five year sentence when he retained Mr. Pastacaldi. Upon a review of his case, it was determined the court failed to properly credit him for over 300 days of jail credit. After filing the post-conviction relief petition, the court ultimately granted that relief and awarded the client his appropriate jail credit thereby lowering his sentence.
Post-Conviction Relief Result #9 – Client was incarcerated on a 10 year prison sentence. After filing for post-conviction relief, it was determined the Department of Corrections was not applying his jail credit appropriately depriving the client of over three years of jail credit. The court granted post-conviction relief. When the jail credit was applied, the client was released from custody and completed his State prison sentence.
Post-Conviction Relief Result #10 – Client was convicted in Essex County Superior Court and was serving a period of Civil Commitment in Avenel, New Jersey. After filing post-conviction relief, it was determined that the client was no properly advised of his civil commitment consequences associated with the guilty plea. The court granted post-conviction relief on this issue and vacated the conviction.
Post-Conviction Relief Result #11 – Client, a legal permanent resident, could not adjust him immigration status to become a citizen due to conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia in Newark Municipal Court. After filing post-conviction relief, the court vacated the conviction due to the client not being represented by a attorney in those proceedings and also not being advised of the immigration consequences.
It is important that all post-conviction relief cases be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to properly determine the likelihood of success. If you want Mr. Pastacaldi to evaluate your case, please contact us to arrange for a consultation.