What errors can you assign to a judge that will merit a review of your case on appeal? Can an appeal be brought only by the accused? Can the prosecution also appeal from a jury verdict or a judgment rendered by a judge?
Read the top five issues that are brought on appeal and answer these questions for yourself.
1. You can appeal when you are convicted. Conviction means that you were found guilty by a judge or by a jury. There are some people who file an appeal simply because they were found guilty. A verdict or judgment of guilt by itself is not an appealable question. There must be a more serious error of law, fact or procedure that the judge or the jury committed that renders the conviction appealable.
2. You can appeal when you were sentenced with a severe or harsh penalty. A severe or harsh penalty is when the penalty was imposed without taking into consideration factors that may serve to decrease the penalty that can be imposed. For instance, age is one factor that mitigates a sentence. A youthful offender will be given a deduction in penalty for his young age. A serious medical condition or mental disability will also serve to diminish a penalty.
3. The prosecutor can appeal when the penalty imposed upon the convicted felon does not match the gravity of the offense. So you thought that only an accused can appeal? No, even the prosecutor can appeal. When aggravating factors were proven during the trial and these were not considered during sentencing such that the penalty imposed was so low that it no longer serves as deterrence then the prosecution will appeal the sentence.
4. You can appeal when a judge’s instructions to a jury may have prejudiced the jury against you. The judge has a responsibility to explain to the jury what the law requires. The judge must use neutral language. If the instructions of the judge to the jury practically prod them to find you guilty, then that would create prejudice against you.
5. You can appeal when pieces of evidence that may prove your innocence was not admitted by the judge. The type of evidence which can be admitted by a court is a question of law. When for instance, during the trial you objected to the admission of evidence but your objection was overruled, you can raise this issue on appeal.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.