Is an appeal always an uphill battle?

Is preparing to file a state or federal appeal akin to being the underdog? As a law firm that has helped many clients with successful appeals, we would caution against assuming that the odds are always stacked against an appellant. 

Consider the many was that errors might arise in a trial. Procedural and constitutional violations can deprive a criminal defendant of a fair outcome.  Simple mistakes, such as improperly calendaring a deadline, might also contribute to a loss. At a minimum, exhausting all available legal avenues can help bring a sense of closure to a criminal proceeding.

Our criminal defense website profiles several of our recent appeals to illustrate the favorable outcomes that can result when a firm with a strong appellate practice group comes on board. For example, in State of Tennessee v. Adam Wayne Robinson, our attorneys represented an individual who had been convicted on three counts of aggravated sexual battery. We reviewed the entire record of that jury trial and came up with a three-pronged appeal strategy: prosecutorial misconduct, insufficient evidence, and cumulative error.

True, an appeal is not an opportunity to try the case a second time. However, if a criminal defendant was not given a fair trial, an appeals court might reverse the judgments of the trial court. That was the outcome here. Specifically, the Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals agreed that the prosecutor’s negative inferences about the defendant’s right not to testify cumulatively amounted to reversible non-structural constitutional error. With a new trial, the defendant may be able to obtain a more favorable outcome. 

Source: FindLaw, “Appealing a Court Decision or Judgment,” copyright 2016, Thomson Reuters

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Patrick T. McNally, Attorney at Law
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