New Trial After Newly Discovered Evidence

Obtaining a new trial is often done through appeals/post-conviction motions. Pursuant to the Florida Supreme Court in Jones v. State, 27 So.3d 11 (Fla. 2010), in order to obtain a new trial based on newly discovered evidence, a defendant must meet two requirements. "First, the evidence must not have been known by the trial court, the party, or counsel at the time of trial, and it must appear that the defendant or defense counsel could not have known of it by the use of diligence. Second, "the newly discovered evidence must be of such nature that it would probably produce an acquittal on retrial.

Newly discovered evidence satisfies the second prong if it weakens the case against [the defendant] so as to give rise to a reasonable doubt as to his culpability. If the defendant is seeking to vacate a sentence, the second prong requires that the newly discovered evidence would probably yield a less severe sentence."

In determining whether the evidence requires a new trial, the circuit court must consider all newly discovered evidence which would be admissible" and must evaluate the weight of both the newly discovered evidence and the evidence which was introduced at the trial. Once it is determined that the newly discovered evidence would be admissible, "an evaluation of the weight to be accorded the evidence includes whether the evidence goes to the merits of the case or whether it constitutes impeachment evidence. The trial court should also determine whether the evidence is cumulative to other evidence in the case" and consider the materiality and relevance of the evidence and any inconsistencies in the newly discovered evidence."

Further, there are time constraints if seeking this remedy. Pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850(b)(1), the claim must be made within two years of the time the new facts were or could have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.

Watch our video about appeals/post-conviction motions to learn more on the importance of hiring an attorney to handle your post-conviction and appellate needs.

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