Being convicted of a crime is devastating, and you may feel like you’ve run out of options. Even after a conviction, you hold the right to appeal the court’s decision on legal grounds. Doing so requires an in-depth understanding of both the law under which you were convicted and the laws governing the trial processes themselves. At the Law Office of Corey Evan Parker, attorney Parker focuses his practice on appeals and takes every case of wrongful conviction or sentencing very seriously.
Technically, there are two main categories of reasons to file for an appeal: a legal error was made during the trial, or you were convicted without sufficient evidence. However, it’s much more difficult to successfully appeal under the second category, and the majority of appeals center on legal errors made in the process leading up to your conviction. Some examples of such grounds for an appeal include:
- Incorrect jury instructions or juror misconduct. While most appellate courts are reluctant to overturn a jury’s verdict, the validity of that verdict can be called into question if the jurors were given inadequate, unclear, or misleading instructions. The same can be true if a juror engages in any kind of misconduct, such as communicating with the prosecution, conducting his or her own investigation, withholding information, or a juror who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the trial.
- Improper admission or exclusion of evidence. A judge’s incorrect decision to include or exclude evidence in the trial could render a jury’s verdict invalid.
- False arrest or illegal search. If the arresting authorities failed to follow proper protocols during the arrest, or arrested you without legitimate probable cause, you may have grounds for a successful appeal. Similarly, if evidence was collected without a necessary warrant, it may be dismissed.
Even if you can demonstrate that a legal error was made leading up to your conviction, this alone is not sufficient for a successful appeal. In addition to showing a legal error, it generally must also be demonstrated that:
- The error was “preserved” at trial. If the error occurred during the actual court proceedings, then your trial attorney (or you, if you were representing yourself) must have objected to the error at the time it occurred. Otherwise, you may have implicitly waived your right to do so.
- The error meaningfully affected the trial’s outcome. Even the most egregious legal error is not sufficient grounds for an appeal unless you can show that the error had a demonstrable impact on the jury’s verdict.
If you’ve been convicted of a crime and believe that you may have grounds for an appeal, then an attorney with a detailed understanding of the appeals process should be contacted immediately. At the Law Office of Corey Evan Parker, attorney Parker can review your case and provide you an honest opinion about whether your case has grounds for an appeal. Please feel free to call for a free consultation.