Appealing Your Conviction
For anyone charged with a crime, a conviction seems like the worst-case scenario. The good news is that your case might not be over. If it is eligible for an appeal, you have one last chance to get a better outcome. However, appeals are never simple, and they should never be handled by a lawyer without specific appeals experience.
At Burleson, Pate & Gibson, L.L.P., we have been handling a range of complex criminal defense matters – including appeals – for more than 60 years. In that time, we have built a track record of successful criminal appeals. We know how to analyze the court transcripts for issues that could be used on appeal, and if there is any way to help you get your conviction reversed, we will find it.
A Different Procedure
Appellate law is a different practice than trial law. The procedures are different, the preparation is different and what your lawyer will be looking for to win your case will be different. On appeal, there is no jury, and neither side can present any new evidence to the court. The appellate judge does not “retry” the case; instead, they look at the trial to determine if mistakes were made that resulted in the wrong outcome.
Appellate judges will look at issues from the lower court that include:
- Motions: There are precise procedures and standards regarding objections and other motions. If the lower court does not follow the appropriate rules, it could prejudice the jury or give the defendant an unfair advantage.
- Evidence: Similar to motions, there are clear guidelines in criminal trials regarding whether to allow certain pieces of evidence in for either party. By presenting evidence in the trial, the attorney creates a record that a higher court can then review on appeal. If the trial judge erred in overruling an objection to some evidence, it could turn the case.
- Witness testimony: The testimony of witnesses can misguide the jury and present an unjust challenge for a defendant. Witness testimony can be objected against, just like evidence can, and an appellate court can then consider this objection.
- Insufficient weight of evidence: This is a more challenging appeal, involving the proof that the evidence presented was not enough to overcome the prosecutor’s burden of proof.
Criminal appeals involve in-depth legal research and study of the trial transcripts, writing and oral argument before the appellate judge. Our attorneys are well-versed in every aspect of this area of law, and they know how to prepare appeals for state and federal criminal cases.