After a defendant has been found guilty by way of trial, the defense attorney may request a higher court to review specifically identified flaws in procedure with the possibility of changing the lower court's decision. It is important to recognize that the appeals process may only begin after the defendant has received the final verdict. An appeal occurs after the court has rendered its decision. The goal of an appeal is to have a higher court review and change the decision of the lower court, or send the case back to re-trial. There are two key types of appeals. One attempts to overturn the court's decision. The second attempts to overturn the courts sentencing decision. The defendant should ask his defense attorney to thoroughly review a transcript of the entire trial prior to preparing an appeal. In an appeal, no new witnesses and no new evidence will be available. Each party prepares briefs that the judges review prior to rendering a decision. Once the trial has been completed, the facts have been decided. They can't be changed by an appellate court. The appeals process reviews defects in procedure of the trial. If the defense attorney can identify substantial improper procedural issues, he may be able to win the appeal. These defects in procedure may include any of the following:
- The judges instructions to the jury were improper
- The prosecution made improper comments to the jury
- Jury tampering
- Improper introduction of evidence
The timeline of the appeals process varies from state-to-state. Some post conviction tactics to get relief for the defendant include:
- Motion for Acquittal
- Motion For New Trial
- Motion For New Sentencing
- Appeal To Appellate Court
- Appeal To State Supreme Court
- Appeal To U.S. Supreme Court
In death penalty cases, the appeals process is automatic.
To find out more information about these topics, please call us direct at 323-467-6400.