At Taylor & Waldrop, we always urge our clients to have patience if they are seeking post-conviction relief, but sometimes our lawyers exhaust their patience. It often takes time to draft the motion itself, and then it can take even longer to get the court to rule on the motion. Although there is no "bright-line rule" that demands that a judge to rule within a specified time, all hope is not lost. Attorneys can request a higher court to issue a writ of mandamus, which can order a judge to rule on the motion.
Mandamus lies to compel a trial court to rule on a motion or petition after a reasonable time. Matthews v. Circuit Court, 515 So. 2d 1065 (Fla. 5th DCA 1987). The failure to rule on a defendant's motion for post-conviction relief for over a year may be considered a denial of the right to access the courts and due process. Lewis v. State, 934 So. 2d 605 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006). See also, Ramirez v. State, 97 So. 3d 340, 341 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012)(two-year delay in acting on the motion is unreasonable and mandamus was appropriate); Kittrell v. State, 28 So. 3d 145 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010)(requiring a lower tribunal to rule on a post-conviction motion that was pending for "almost one year").
When our patience runs out, we turn the relief provided by the writ to assert our client's rights. If you have any questions about a criminal case, an appeal, or post-conviction issues, call our office today.