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Post Conviction Relief- Exception to the One Year Time Bar for Newly Discovered Evidence

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Newly discovered evidence is an exception to the one year time bar in PCRA's.

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By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, PCRA Counsel, Harrisburg, PA

The statutory exception to the one-year limitations period governing a petition for postconviction relief based on newly discovered evidence requires the petitioner to allege and prove that there were facts that were unknown to him or her, and that he or she could not have ascertained those facts by the exercise of due diligence.  A defendant who seeks postconviction review of an untimely petition based on claims of newly discovered evidence must still present the claim within 60 days of discovering the new fact.  

The exception to the one-year time limitation for filing a postconviction petition, when facts upon which the claim is predicated were unknown to the petitioner and could not have been ascertained by due diligence, does not require that the new facts constitute exculpatory evidence that would have changed the outcome of the trial.  The exception does not require the court to examine the merits of the claim in order for it to qualify as timely and warranting review; the petitioner must simply comply with the statute's requirement of presenting newly discovered evidence.

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