Major Issues Raised on Appeal - Guest Blog News

 If you are dissatisfied with the results of a legal proceeding in the United States, you have the right to appeal the decision in the appellate court. The purpose of this court is to offer just, consistent, and appropriate resolutions to the appeals filed. Typically, an appeal is not a fresh trial but an official request to review a lower court's decision on a higher one. Therefore, appeals at court do not allow the presentation of new evidence and testimonies from the defendants. Here are common issues argued that are argued in the appeal court.

Major Issues Raised on Appeal

Lack of Sufficient Evidence

During the trial of an individual facing criminal charges, the prosecutor must prove each aspect of the offense beyond any doubt. If there are some discrepancies regarding the evidence, the defendants may argue that the prosecutor's side failed to prove one or more aspects of the crime satisfactorily.

Exclusion or Incorrect Admission of Evidence

Specific evidence that both parties present may be prohibited from being shared with the jury during trial. The judge usually determines this during a pre-trial hearing. Sometimes judges may make errors during their ruling. These mistakes can be used to base an appeal.

Misuse or Mistake of the Law

An attorney can argue that the law was misinterpreted or misapplied during a case. Although these cases are rare, they usually involve a misapplication of the law or a mistake in a ruling in a manner that wasn’t supposed to be applied. If the appellate court determines the error to be harmless, it may rule that the court's decision wouldn’t have changed whether the error occurred or not.

Abuse of Power

A person may file an appeal in situations where a key player in the case, typically a judge, is accused of abusing their judicial power. Such cases include inconsistent or excessive sentencing or instances where a judge acts beyond their jurisdiction. Other examples of abuse of power include receiving bribes or using the office to offer special treatment to friends and family members.

Procedural Mistakes

The judicial procedure is clearly outlined to ensure all courtrooms exercise their authority fairly and consistently. An irregularity may form the grounds to file an appeal. An example of a procedural mistake is when the judge fails to hold a pre-trial hearing to hear the evidence before the trial starts. A mistake can also occur during jury selection.

Violation of Constitutional Rights

The Fourth Amendment right of a person protects them from illegal seizure and search. A person may appeal the case if this right is violated when the evidence is obtained. Drugs, guns, cell phones, and DNA are subject to laws that oversee warrants and searches.
A person may also appeal a court’s decision based on false arrest. This happens when the arresting officer lacks the adequate authority to arrest the defendant or in cases where they didn’t have probable reason to do so.

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Defendants in a trial have the right to be represented by zealous and competent legal counsel. If an individual’s lawyer fails to offer substantial assistance, either through an intentional act or negligence, the defendant has the right to appeal the court’s decision. Examples of such acts include failure to communicate plea deals, being under the influence during a trial, or failing to call crucial witnesses.

Prosecutorial Misconduct

A case may be appealed if the prosecutor used unlawful or unfair tactics. This includes withholding vital evidence that would have favored the defendant to secure a certain verdict. Other examples of prosecutorial misbehaviors include using improper methods to persuade the court or the jury and misstating the evidence or the law purposefully.

An appeal court allows a defendant to review a case if they feel they didn’t receive a fair hearing. Typically, the success of the appeal’s ruling is based on the issues raised, as seen above.

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