Out Of Time?
Almost everyone who has filed an appeal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has come face to face with the infamous denial of relief from inappropriate charges, disproportionate sentences and wrongful convictions because the appellant courts deemed their arguments were not filed in a timely manner.
Due diligence means that a defendant must file their appeal quickly otherwise their briefs are denied even if they clearly explain what was wrong in their case and the proper remedy. At first glance, this makes sense but it doesn't hold up after long. When we argue with someone in common life and they are right but took a long time to make their point we will most likely say to them, “Why didn't you say that before?" However, normal people will give in to their demand because human nature is to submit to the truth.
In Pennsylvania, poor and uneducated defendants are forced to endure a double dose of injustice because not only must they feel the full weight of the machine that has incarcerated our people on a massive level but then they have to defend their rights against the appellant courts within one year after trial or they're stuck with their sentences forever.
It took lawyers and judges an average of 6-8 years of collegiate training after highschool for them to begin their legal careers. What sane person would believe that an uneducated person can study the law, master it's language known as legalese then develop the ability to properly file a legal brief inside of a year with only 2 hours per week to research in the prison's law library all within his first year behind bars?
It takes, at best, 5-10 years for a a person to arm himself with enough knowledge just to have a fighting chance during his appeal. Meanwhile the prosecutors and judges in Pennsylvania have almost an unlimited amount of time to preserve your conviction. Due diligence doesn't apply for them. For us, if your late by one day then you're out of time.
Maafa M. Muhammad.