For many individuals accused of breaking the law in Tennessee, a criminal conviction is the end of their options. They will have to serve their sentences and move on with their lives, even if they still maintain their own innocence.
In some scenarios, those recently convicted in criminal court may have grounds to appeal the ruling against them. Such post-conviction relief could result in a different outcome or sometimes even a new trial. There are numerous reasons why a convicted criminal defendant could appeal and ask the courts to review the fairness of their trial.
An issue with a judge who proves to not be fully impartial could potentially be grounds for an appeal.
Judges should disclose conflicts of interest
State rules and federal standards for judges presiding over criminal cases make it very clear that they have a duty to disclose any potential conflicts of interest. A judge has the authority to recuse themselves or formally remove themselves from a case, should they feel that they are no longer capable of impartially hearing and ruling on the case.
There are many ways that a judge could have a conflict of interest. They may have a loved one with a personal history that involves a crime much like the one alleged in your case. There could be financial incentives for them to rule a certain way or a personal tie that connects them to the case in some way that they have not disclosed to you or anyone else.
When you uncover connections that may have led to a conflict of interest, you may question whether your trial was fair. A judge who hides personal factors that could influence their decisions may have made a biased decision, whether they intended to or not.
Filing an appeal is a complex process
Navigating the criminal justice system can be a real challenge, especially when someone intends to pursue post-conviction relief. Those hoping to correct a previous miscarriage of justice will likely require professional support if they are to convince the appellate courts that the outcome in the first trial was inappropriate and unfair, possibly because of a judge’s bias.
Getting the right help when you believe you have grounds for an appeal will increase your chances of successfully pursuing this powerful form of post-conviction relief.