Grounds For Appealing A Criminal Conviction
When a criminal defendant is convicted of a crime and sentenced following a trial, they may choose to appeal. You can file an appeal if you have a valid ground for appealing. When you file an appeal, you ask the court to overturn the conviction, or the sentence, in your case..
Only a handful of valid grounds exist for filing an appeal after a criminal conviction and sentencing. Below, we discuss the grounds for filing an appeal after a criminal conviction and sentencing.
#1: Evidence Errors
In any criminal case, it is up to the judge to decide which evidence can be admitted in court and which can’t. The judge determines which inculpatory evidence the prosecution can present and which exculpatory evidence the defense side can present. Inculpatory evidence stresses guilt, whereas exculpatory evidence is evidence that can justify, excuse, or absolve the suspect of fault or guilt. If a judge makes a mistake when deciding which evidence should be admitted in court and which shouldn’t, this can be grounds for appealing a criminal conviction.
#2: Sentencing Errors
When sentencing a criminal defendant, a judge must adhere to certain rules. For example, a judge may be required to rule that a defendant serves multiple sentences simultaneously and not consecutively. If a judge ignores sentencing rules, the sentence imposed is considered unlawful. A criminal defendant can appeal a criminal conviction if a judge imposes an illegal sentence.
#3: Prosecutor Misconduct
If the prosecution engages in misconduct, this can be grounds for appealing a criminal conviction and sentencing. Some examples of things that prosecutors do that are considered misconduct that may give a convicted person the right to appeal include;
- Not disclosing exculpatory evidence
- Using improper arguments
- Introducing improper evidence
#4: Jury Misconduct
A person can also file an appeal if the jury engages in misconduct. For example, a person can file an appeal if the jury conducts a factual investigation beyond the admitted evidence or refuses to deliberate.
Note: When appealing a criminal conviction and sentencing, it is not enough to show that one of the above-discussed errors occurred. You must also show that there is a reasonable probability that the errors affected the outcome of your case. For this reason, it is crucial that you work with a qualified appeals attorney.
Contact Us for Legal Help
If you need help with a criminal case or appealing a criminal conviction and sentencing, contact our experienced and dedicated Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer at Rigney Law LLC.