Post-Conviction Relief Proceeding Law and Legal Definition

Post-conviction relief proceeding is a federal or state criminal procedure whereby a convicted criminal can request that a conviction or sentence be corrected or vacated. This proceeding is designed as a partial substitute for habeas corpus, in which the court reviews claims of a convicted offender that his/her constitutional rights were violated. Through a post-conviction relief proceeding, a criminal defendant may challenge collaterally a judgment of conviction which has otherwise become final in the normal appellate review process. The federal statute pertaining to this proceeding is 28 U.S.C. §2255, enacted by Congress in 1948. Many states have adopted similar statutes that encompass all constitutional challenges to the judgment of conviction, but some statutes limit the scope of the remedy and the timeliness with which a motion for relief must be made. For e.g., some statutes stipulate a timeframe of not more than five years after the conviction to invoke the proceeding.