When you’re facing serious criminal charges, you really don’t want to contemplate losing at trial — but you should.
Acquittal may be the goal of your trial, but planning your appeal (should you be convicted) is a huge part of your trial process. It’s often wise to involve someone with who is particularly skilled in the area — and that may or may not be your trial lawyer.
An appeal is nothing like a trial
Most people think of an appeal as another chance to present their case, but an appeal is not a “do-over.” To get a retrial, the appellate court would have to remand your case back to the lower court and order a new trial.
Before you could even get to that point, you have to convince the court that your trial involved a substantial error of some kind that could have negatively affected its outcome. For example, things like:
- The trial court judge misunderstood or misapplied the law
- There was a ruling by the lower court that seemed like an abuse of judicial discretion
- Your had ineffective or inadequate representation of counsel at trial
- There was juror misconduct or prosecutorial misconduct
An appeal is argued largely through written briefs and illustrated with transcripts from the trial. The appellate court is more concerned about whether you got a fair trial than the right verdict.
Every objection is a strategic plan
During your trial, you may often hear attorneys object to various bits of evidence, testimony or rulings. Most of those objections will be overruled. Many of those objections are made assuming that the judge will overrule them, however. Their sole purpose is to preserve the issue for potential appeal later.
An attorney who is familiar with appellate law is far better suited to know when objections should be made than your trial attorney, so having an appeals attorney on board in your homicide case can be invaluable.