A direct appeal is an important opportunity for a criminal defendant to challenge a conviction or sentence. If you or someone you love has been convicted after trial, you should always appeal. To appeal you must first file what is called a "Notice of Appeal" within 10 days (federal) or 30 days (state) of the sentencing hearing.
In an appeal, an appellate court reviews the happenings in the trial court to make certain that everything was done correctly and pursuant to the law. The appellate court will look at "the record," meaning the transcripts of court hearings relevant to the issues raised in the appeal. The appellate court does not decide whether a defendant is guilty or innocent, but does on occasion reverse a conviction and direct the trial court to dismiss the case for a lack of evidence.
There are a slew of issues that can be argued at the appellate level. Perhaps the trial judge allowed evidence into the trial that should have been suppressed due to illegal government conduct. Sometimes jury selection issues can be raised, as often times a judge will deny a defense challenge on a particular juror despite that juror communicating doubts about the ability to be fair and impartial during the selection process. Another common mistake made during a criminal trial is improper arguments made by prosecutors. Trials are war and it is quite common for an overzealous prosecutor to cross the line and unfairly prejudice the accused during closing arguments.
These are just a few of the ways an appeal can be won, resulting in a new trial being ordered or maybe a resentencing. A defendant is entitled to a lawyer for a direct appeal. There is no doubt that a criminal defendant can significantly improve his or her chances of prevailing on appeal by retaining an experienced appellate attorney.
If you or a loved one has been convicted of a serious crime in State or Federal Court and are interested in hiring a criminal lawyer with the intuitive skill to handle the appeal, feel free to call the Law Office of Brian H. Mallonee at (772) 464-1991 and talk with us about it.
Brian Mallonee is a Criminal Defense Lawyer Serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties