SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah

Utah OnLaw: The Utah Law Review Online Supplement


Nathan Margioni


The Post-Conviction Remedies Act’s fundamental flaw is its effect on the availability of relief to indigent prisoners. A post-conviction review is often a prisoner’s only opportunity to challenge the failure of appellate counsel to provide effective assistance. Because the legislature has eliminated the common law writ of habeas corpus as a method to challenge a conviction or sentence, the PCRA is the only available avenue for a post-conviction review. The indigent defendant, however, is particularly vulnerable to the PCRA’s restrictions, due to his or her reliance on appointed rather than private counsel during the appeals phase, and lack of resources to effectively pursue a petition under the strictures imposed by the PCRA.