The appeals process is designed to right potential wrongs in the judicial process. In New York State, as throughout the United States, if you feel you have been mistakenly convicted of a crime, you can appeal the decision to a higher court.
Although some mistakes during the judicial process may have no effect on your trial (“harmless errors) and cannot serve as the sole basis to appeal a verdict, there are times when errors, acts of negligence or even misconduct on the part of the police, the court, the prosecution or even your own trial attorney may result in a questionable verdict. If you or your attorney suspect that the outcome might have gone differently had the error not occurred, you have a legitimate reason to appeal.
The criminal appeal of a felony conviction maintains that the defendant was wrongfully convicted and imprisonment resulted from errors made during the trial. Your attorney may argue that the mistakes made deprived you of due process, interfering with your right to a fair trial and just sentence. Because a great deal is at stake, it is essential that you have an attorney with a high rate of success in the appeals process. Barket Marion is a New York law firm with notable credentials in this area, having assisted in successful appeals in many high profile cases.
Types of Errors that May Have Been Committed
No aspect of human existence is free of mistakes and this includes our judicial system. This is why provisions have been made for defendants to appeal convictions on a number of grounds. In some cases, mistakes have been made innocently; in other cases, mistakes rise to the level of misconduct on the part of the police, the prosecutor, a juror, the judge, or some other party. While many types of errors may occur, there are three basic categories of errors that may have resulted in a wrongful conviction.
Pre-trial errors, such as:
- Denying a motion to suppress evidence based on illegal search and seizure
- Improper handling of evidence
- Failing to disclose exculpatory evidence
- Denial of a defendant’s challenge to the constitutionality of a criminal statute
Other trial errors include:
- Judicial misinterpretation of a legal statute
- Improper admission of hearsay evidence
- Exclusion of favorable circumstantial evidence
- Improper limiting of testimony or cross-examination
- Prosecutorial misconduct during opening remarks or summation
- Publicity-tainted trial
- Erroneous instructions by the judge to the jury
- Non-adherence to the judge’s instructions on the part of a juror
- Jury tampering or intimidation
- Ineffective defense (assistance of counsel) in violation of the Sixth Amendment
- Insufficient evidence to support the conviction
- Judicial abuse of discretion
Sentencing Errors are errors that result in sentences that are illegal, harsh or excessive. These errors may occur because the judge did not properly review mitigating factors before sentencing or because the judge was biased (for any number of reasons) or because the judge simply misinterpreted sentencing provisions during sentencing.
New Evidence may arise after your conviction that raises doubt about your conviction or that entirely exonerates you. If this occurs, your attorney may appeal by filing a petition for a new trial. The modern technology that makes DNA evidence now available, for example, has caused many wrongful convictions to be overturned.
Positive Results of an Appeal
If your attorney is successful in appealing your case to either a state or federal appeals court, you may receive a modified sentence, have a new trial ordered, or have your conviction overturned. Quite simply, an appeal may change the course of your life. This is why it is critical for you to have a skilled appeals attorney at your side, one who, like the lawyers at Barket Marion, is always alert to the possibility of a successful appeal. Don’t hesitate to contact us.