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Brownstone Law

On What Grounds Are Criminal Convictions Appealed?

The legal process doesn’t end with a criminal conviction. Even if you’ve been found guilty by a trial court, you can appeal to a court of appeals if you believe you’ve been wrongly convicted or received a harsh sentence. When an appeal goes to an appellate court, any of the following scenarios can happen:

  • The conviction may be reversed.
  • The sentence gets altered.
  • A new trial may be ordered.
  • An appellate court may withhold the decision of the lower court.

Even after the court of appeals rules on the appeal, the appellee can once again appeal to the Supreme Court. If the United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC decides to rule on the appeal, this will be the end of the appeal process.

Common Grounds for an Appeal

A criminal appeals attorney can appeal a conviction on the following grounds. If the appellate attorney raises a strong argument, the appellate court may overrule the appellee’s conviction.

  1. False Arrest

If the arresting officers didn’t have an arrest warrant at the time you were arrested, your case could be overturned on appeal. Also, if the officers violated any search and seizure laws during your arrest, such can result in a successful appeal.

  1. Exclusion of Evidence

Before the jury hears the case, the judge holds a special hearing, at which only the defense lawyer and prosecutor are present. Here, the judge decides which pieces of evidence can be presented in court. Sometimes, a judge can get it wrong and prevent exculpatory evidence from being presented to the jury. In such an instance, one can appeal their conviction, citing exclusion of evidence.

  1. Insufficient Evidence

Just like judges, juries make mistakes as well. A jury’s verdict can be influenced by emotion or prejudice, and both elements can lead to a conviction without strong evidence. If the prosecution fails to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual is guilty—and the jury goes ahead and convicts when there’s a lack of evidence—an appeal can be made on grounds of insufficient evidence.

  1. Ineffective Counsel

Sometimes, a defense counsel will commit legal errors, and these errors may lead to a defendant’s case being presented poorly. If you can prove that the inefficiency of your defense counsel deprived you of your Sixth Amendment right, then you’re entitled to a new trial.

However, one can only file such an appeal if they can prove the attorney’s conduct did not meet the objective standard of reasonableness. Or it must be proven that the attorney was prejudiced.

  1. Prosecutorial or Jury Misconduct

If you have proof that the prosecutor or jury engaged in a dishonest act—or you discovered that improper methods were used to convict you—then you’re entitled to a new trial on grounds of prosecutorial or jury misconduct.

Here’s what misconduct can look like:

  • Refusing to deliberate.
  • Failure to conduct a factual investigation.
  • Purposely concealing relevant information.
  • Commenting on inadmissible evidence.
  • Convicting based on passions and prejudices.
  1. Sentencing Errors

The judge is required to state clearly their reasons for a particular sentence. If the judge ignores sentencing rules, then it becomes an illegal sentence. If you can convince the appellate court that you have been sentenced illegally, then the court will order a review of the trial court’s verdict.

If you or a loved one has been falsely convicted—and the appeals process is the logical next step—reach out to Brownstone Law. Robert L. Sirianni has successfully appealed numerous convictions. As a leading criminal appeal lawyer in Georgia, he can deliver the professional assistance that’s needed to appeal a conviction successfully. Contact our team today to find out how we can help you.

Federal Appeal Lawyers In Antitrust
Author Name
Robert L Sirianni
(888) 233-8895
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