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Appealing a Criminal Conviction

Appealing a Criminal Conviction | Criminal Defense Attorneys

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Remedies For Sentences That Do Not Fit The Crime or For a Wrongful Conviction.

When a person completes the legal process of conviction and sentencing, he or she does possess the legal right to request an appeal of the judgment. In the case of a person actually admitting guilt for the action, he or she may have to inquire if they do have the right to request an appeal. In addition, if a person’s sentence is handed down through a trial, then there is no question he or she can certainly appeal their case.


It is essential to keep in mind, an appeal is not where the court rehears the case, but is merely when the proceedings are scrutinized to that every part of the procedure was performed in the most unbiased fashion.


What Does The Appeals Process Consist Of?

It’s fairly simple really. The first step is for each side involved in the case to produce a written brief, which is statement of the facts and data of the case, to an appellate court. Included in this document is every bit of paper or physical evidence that was introduced at the trial. The second step may involve another round of oral arguments, but these are usually not very long. All they do is concentrate on the specific legal topics relative to the case.

When the higher court agrees to hear the case it can be likened to a sporting event’s equivalent of instant replay. Just like in sports, the members of the court are looking over every detail of the case to ensure no one has made a mistake. They want to make sure nothing occurred during the trial that could have possibly biased the outcome.


What Exactly Are The Judges Looking For?

The following are the types of mistakes judges are seeking:

  • Fundamental Error. This is when something happened that was central to the presentation of the case. This type of error can by the judges even when it wasn’t brought to light by the person filing the appeal.

  • Harmful Error. This situation is when the judges decide a mistake was committed that certainly could have altered the trial results.

  • Harmless Error. This scenario from the judges determining something did go awry during the trail but it had no effect on how the case was adjudicated.

  • Invited Error. This is when the person who filed the appeal requests the court to hand down a decision that is correct. Therefore, he or she is not allowed to ever appeal the trial’s outcome because of their previous request.

  • Reversible Error. This situation is when the judges hearing the appeal decide to “reverse” what the lower court decided.


What Is the Difference Between Procedural Due Process and Substantive Due Process?

This is fairly common terminology that is used when a case is being appealed. Here’s what the difference means:

  • Procedural Due Process. These are basic rights all individuals are entitled too based on what is outlined in the Constitution. The most common one people are most familiar with is that anyone has the right to acquire representation by council.

  • Substantive Due Process. This is the concept that each and every individual should not be denied the right to appeal or if during the trial, the opposing party did not produce evidence that would point towards the defendant’s innocence.


Is There Anything To Be Done if The Appeal is Lost?

How appeals generally operate is they are sent to an appellate court that ranks above the trial court but below a particular state’s highest court. Once the appeal reaches the state level it can advance to a federal court and ultimately to the nation’s highest court, the Supreme Court. Under nearly all circumstances, a party must inquire if they have the proper standing for the appeal to be heard at each level. Keep in mind for case to be heard on the federal level, the legal issues must be relative to constitutional law and not something that would be handled by a lower court. This, of course, would be determined by the attorney who is filing the appeal.


Is My Case Terminated If I Win?

Not necessarily. Even if you are the victorious party, the opposing side also has the opportunity to inquire about an appeal to a court with greater stature. On many occasions, if a party triumphs on appeal, opposing counsel provides this person with chance to enter an admission of guilt to enable their sentence to be conducted as time served. This can be quite beneficial to a defendant, but then again, opposing counsel could not proffer any system for leniency in sentencing or the defendant could still seek a new trial to determine a verdict for themselves as innocent.


Will A Prosecutor Ever Release The Charges?

It can happen but not very often. If the judges reviewing the appeal decide something should not have been introduced in the case’s trial and the prosecutor cannot prove that person committed the crime without that evidence, they can decide to abolish the charges.


Are the Circumstances the Same For Probation or Parole Violations?

Most certainly. Depending on the state where the party resides, people normally do have the option of appeal their decision to an administrative panel.


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