Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.
Q) What are my options
Unfortunately, very few. The three options that come to mind are an appeal; a habeas petition; and/or a pardon.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but as an attorney and a professional on this site, I have to be honest with you and not just make things sound wonderful if that's not the case. While I'd rather tell you I have a wonderful solution to your very real dilemma, I cannot this time. Keep reading and I'll explain why...Your no contest plea
First, let me cover the issue of your plea. A no contest (or nolo contendere
) plea is an implied confession of guilt. A no contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea; it leads the person to being found guilty of a crime. It simply means that the person does not wish to contest the charge. It doesn't make a person any less guilty of the crime in the eyes of the law.Appeal
A person who is convicted in a Circuit Court
in Michigan generally has a right to pursue an appeal with the Court of Appeals or the Michigan Supreme Court. However, when a person enters a guilty or no contest plea, they effectively lose most of their rights to appeal the decision of the court. To the extent an appeal IS allowed, it is very limited.
At this point, you are years past the deadline to file an appeal. Generally, an appeal must be noted from the Circuit Court to the Court of Appeals within 21 days of final judgment. There is some wiggle room there as far as the 21 day rule, but not ten years worth.
Thus, your right to pursue an appeal of your conviction is most likely time-barred because it should have been filed a long time ago.Habeas petition
Even after a guilty or no contest plea, however, a habeas corpus
petition can be filed. A habeas petition is designed to attack the constitutionality of a person's detention. Habeas
is not used to determine whether or not a person is guilty or not guilty; it's used to determine whether or not the process that led to a guilty finding was fair under the constitution. Generally, a successful habeas
ruling means that a person can be re-tried for the same crime.
One of the issues you mentioned about your attorney might have qualified for habeas relief
. If your attorney was ineffective, or failed to act reasonably prudently on your behalf to your detriment, it is possible you could have gotten a trial
ordered due to the attorney's ineffective assistance
in your case.
In Michigan, however, one of the rules for a habeas
petition requires that the person be in custody of the state. Custody means in jail or in prison. Since you never served time in jail or prison, habeas
relief is and was not available.
Federal law also allows a person to file a habeas
petition. However, you're past the time to file a federal habeas
petition; it must generally be filed within a year of exhausting all state remedies (i.e. appeal and habeas
under state law.)Pardon
You could ask the state for a pardon
in your case. While these are relatively rare, they are sometimes granted. If the case 10 years ago was your only interaction with the criminal justice
system, and you've been out of trouble since, you've maintained a job and have otherwise been a model citizen, you certainly could qualify for a pardon.
An attorney who practices in this area would be helpful. If you do not know an attorney to call, try the Michigan State Bar attorney referral service
. They can point you in the right direction.
Again, I wish I could come up with a brilliant solution to help you, but I have to be honest and say that your options are very limited. Nonetheless, I certainly hope I've been helpful to you to understand why those options are limited.
If you have follow-up questions or concerns on this topic, please ask. Otherwise, please rate my answer positively so that I can receive credit for my work. Doing so will NOT cost you any additional fee.