A criminal trial is not necessarily the last word on someone’s guilt or innocence. The law recognizes that mistakes sometimes happen that affect trial results. In these situations, you have legal options for seeking justice.
Contact a Manchester appeals lawyer if you believe errors impacted your criminal trial. The legal team at Ruane Attorneys could review the trial record, identify issues and errors, and make a persuasive case to the higher courts.
Potential Grounds for Appeal
A person appealing a criminal conviction—the appellant—asserts that a denial of a fundamental right or error at trial led to the conviction. A Manchester appeals attorney must show that the error or denial of rights affected the trial’s outcome.
Numerous incidents or issues could warrant an appeal. Some of the common grounds for appeal in criminal cases include:
- Misconduct by the prosecutor, jury, or judge
- Incompetent or ineffective defense counsel
- A legal error by the trial judge, such as allowing prejudicial evidence or suppressing potentially exculpatory evidence
- Improper jury instructions
- Insufficient evidence to support a conviction
The lawyers at our Manchester office can review a criminal conviction to determine the potential grounds for pursuing an appeal.
Appellate Procedures for Criminal Matters in Manchester
A person wishing to appeal a criminal conviction must act quickly. Typically, the trial court allows only 20 days from the sentencing date to file a Notice of Appeal. According to Connecticut General Statute §54-95, a person may appeal a conviction, sentence, or both.
Filing the Notice of Appeal
When appealing a Superior Court decision on a capital felony, a Manchester lawyer files the Notice of Appeal directly with the Supreme Court. In all other criminal appeals, the Appellate Court is the higher court hearing the appeal. The appellant also must serve the Notice of Appeal on the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice, which handles prosecution and appeals of criminal matters.
Submitting Appellate Briefs
The higher courts do not examine evidence or hear witnesses. They make their decisions based on written briefs and attorneys’ oral presentations.
A local appellate attorney representing a convicted person must review the trial transcript and evidence to note possible errors or omissions that impacted the trial. They prepare a written document called a brief and present their findings and the legal reasons why the identified errors or omissions resulted in an unfair result for the appellant. The Division of Criminal Justice appellate attorney also submits a brief arguing why the conviction was proper and should stand.
Appellants have the right to make oral arguments before the Appellate Court. Oral arguments allow the Appellate Judges to question each side’s positions.
Possible Results of an Appeal
Higher courts give substantial deference to trial court judges but strive to promote justice. If the judges on the Appellate Court agree that a mistake at trial affected the outcome, they have several options to correct the error.
One option is to overturn the verdict. In many cases, the Appellate Court will vacate a verdict and send the matter back to the trial court for a new trial. The Appellate Court can change a sentence upon finding that the trial court imposed it in error.
The Appellate Court could deny an appeal and allow the conviction and sentence to stand. In that case, our lawyers in Manchester could pursue an appeal to Connecticut’s Supreme Court.
Consult a Manchester Appeals Attorney Immediately After a Conviction
The appeals process exists to ensure that legal errors do not result in the denial of justice. If you believe an event or error during your trial affected the outcome, you could have grounds for an appeal.
Contact a Manchester appeals lawyer immediately to discuss the results of your criminal trial or the sentence you received. You have only a few days to file an appeal, so swift action is critical. Call Ruane Attorneys today.