People who are charged with a crime and been convicted may feel the urge to give up hope. For many criminal cases, however, conviction is not the end of the road. The appeals process exists to allow higher courts to review specific aspects of the case for important legal errors. These errors may have huge consequences regarding the conviction itself or the imposed sentence. For this reason, it’s important to file an appeal quickly—usually 10 days—after the initial verdict.
I’m an experienced trial attorney who has spent time as both a prosecutor in Georgia and a criminal defense attorney here in New York. Because of this, I have keen insights and an attention to detail and investigation that will help clients uncover the legal errors in their case that may have led to the conviction in the first place.
Common Grounds for Appeal
The court may only look at the “record” of the proceedings and will not consider any new evidence. This record includes admitted evidence and transcripts made by the court reporter of everything said in court by the judge, attorneys, and witnesses. Judgments may be appealed on either factual or legal grounds. When a verdict is appealed due to factual grounds, it means there is a dispute with the determinations made by the jury. Unless this error is extremely obvious, appellate courts tend not to review factual errors.
The most common reasons for appeal are based on legal errors, including the following:
- Incorrect jury instructions
- Improper use of evidence
- Lack of sufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict
- False arrest
- Juror misconduct
- Ineffective counsel assistance
- Prosecutorial misconduct
Note that these errors must be material and have been serious enough to affect the outcome of the defendant’s case.