Criminal Appeals

If you have been convicted of a criminal offense, you don’t have to simply accept the sentence handed down by the court. If there were mistakes made by the judge during the trial, you have the right to seek reversal from a court of appeals.

The appellate process is significantly different from the trial process. In an appeal, the court will only rule on issues of law, and never on issues of fact. Accordingly, you can only file an appeal if you believe there were errors of law at trial. These can include:

• Mistakes in allowing or denying the admission of evidence used to convict you. If evidence was illegally obtained, or is not relevant, and was allowed in over the objections of your attorney, you have a right to appeal. Likewise, if you have information that could have exonerated you, and the judge wrongfully denied its introduction, you can seek a reversal.
• Errors in the instructions given to the jury. In our criminal justice system, the jury determines the facts and the judge rules on the law. The judge will provide specific instructions to the jurors, telling them what the law is, should they make certain determinations of fact. Customarily, the judge asks counsel for the state and for the defendant to submit proposed jury instructions, and then approves them. As a result, mistakes can be made.

An appeal also differs from trial in that there is no jury. Your case will be heard by a single judge or by a panel of judges. If your ruling is overturned, your case will likely be sent back to the trial court for a new hearing.

At Laguna Reyes Maloney, LLP, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. Contact us online or call us at 717-233-5292 to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys. We speak Spanish and understand the impact a criminal charge can have on your efforts to become or remain a permanent citizen.

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