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Can a Defendant Have a New Trail Based on Newly Discovered Evidence?

In Florida, when a defendant has a trial and gets convicted, he/she has a right to appeal the conviction to have a higher court determine if there were any significant errors committed in the trial that detrimentally affected the defendant’s right to a fair trial. While some appeals are successful, their success rate is very low.

In other cases, the defendant learns of new evidence after the trial that he/she claims would have proven the defendant innocent if such information was presented to the jury. However, a defendant cannot automatically have a new trial just because he/she or someone else claims to have uncovered new evidence beneficial to the defendant after the initial trial is over. If a defendant claims to have new evidence after the trial, the criminal defense lawyer can file a motion for post-conviction relief under Rule 3.850.

The newly discovered evidence often comes in the form of a new witness who says he/she saw or heard something that helps the defendant’s defense. After the criminal defense attorney files a motion for a new trial, the court must determine if the newly discovered evidence is inherently incredible. If it is, then the motion fails. If the newly discovered evidence is not inherently incredible, then the trial judge is supposed to have a hearing to determine if the evidence is in fact newly discovered evidence (since the trial) and whether the new evidence would probably result in a not guilty verdict at a new trial. These motions are not often successful, but if a defendant can produce some new, reliable and substantial evidence after a trial, there is a way to get a second chance under the criminal procedure rules in Florida.