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What Are the Common Grounds for Criminal Appeals?

A criminal conviction doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road. Even if you’ve been found guilty by a trial court, you can appeal to the circuit court if you believe you have been wrongly convicted or received a harsh sentence. When an appeal goes to an appellate court, any one of the following scenarios can happen:

  • The conviction is reversed.
  • The verdict is altered.
  • A new trial is ordered.
  • The appellate court withholds the decision of the lower court.

Even after an appeal is tried by a circuit court, the defendant can appeal the decision at the Supreme Court. The United States Supreme Court in Washington, DC, makes the final decision in an appeal.

Common Grounds for Appeal

Criminal appeals attorney can cite any of the following reasons to appeal your conviction. Depending on the strength of the argument, the appellate court can overrule your conviction. Here are the common grounds for appeals:

1. False Arrest

If the officers didn’t have an arrest warrant to arrest you, your case could be overturned when you appeal. Also, if the officers violated any search and seizure laws during your arrest, it forms a valid ground for an appeal.

2. Exclusion of Evidence

Before the jury tries the case, the judge holds a special hearing with the defense lawyer and prosecutor. The judge decides which pieces of evidence are to be presented in court. Sometimes judges can get it wrong and prevent exculpatory evidence from being presented before the jury. In such cases, you can appeal the sentence citing the exclusion of evidence.

3. Insufficient Evidence

Like the judge, sometimes the jury can make a mistake. They can decide based on emotion or prejudice and convict the defendant even when there isn’t compelling evidence. If the prosecution fails to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and the jury goes ahead with the conviction even when there is a lack of evidence, you can appeal the sentence on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

4. Ineffective Counsel

Sometimes your defense counsel commits a legal error and may not present your case strongly. If you can prove that the inefficiency of your trial lawyer deprived you of your Sixth Amendment, you are entitled to a new trial.

However, note that you can appeal only when you can prove that the attorney’s conduct fell below the objective standard of reasonableness and the attorney was prejudiced.

5. Prosecutorial or Jury Misconduct

Another reason to appeal is if you have proof of the prosecutor or jury engaging in a dishonest act or using improper methods to convict you. Then, you are entitled to a new trial based on prosecutorial or jury misconduct.

Some of the common scenarios of misconduct include:

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

6. Sentencing Errors

The judge is required to state clearly their reason 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 orders a review of the verdict in the trial court.

If you or a loved one has been falsely convicted and needs help with appeals, reach out to Brownstone Law. Robert L. Sirianni has filed successful appeals for many clients found guilty of criminal charges. As one of the leading criminal appeal lawyers in Georgia, he can provide you with professional assistance for your appeal. Contact our team today to find out how we can help you.

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