Rule 32 petitions are usually filed once you’ve exhausted your appeals in the Alabama appellate courts. We generally must file a Rule 32 petition within one year of the date on which a certificate of judgment was issued in your appellate cases. (A certificate of judgment is a document that basically says, ‘Your case became final on this date.’) So, if the Alabama Supreme Court entered a certificate of judgment on your appeal on January 1, 2023, we would have until January 1, 2024 to file a timely Rule 32 petition.
If we want to file a Rule 32 petition based upon newly-discovered evidence, we must file the petition within six months of discovering the new evidence. So even if your case is really old, if we find new evidence and we file a petition within six months of its discovery, we will have filed a timely petition under the rules.
Filing within these deadlines keeps the State from arguing that our petition is time-barred or untimely, which gives the court an easy grounds to deny us. But a Rule 32 petition raising important issues can technically be filed at any time. It’s just harder to win outside that first year.