Guy Seligman is a criminal appeals lawyer who has been helping to overturn criminal verdicts for over a decade. Before you begin the criminal appeal process it is important to understand some of the basic facts.
After a Florida criminal conviction and sentencing, you may be able to file a criminal appeal of your sentence. An appeal is not a retrial of the case, but is an examination of the trial record to ensure that proceedings were conducted in a fair manner. Your criminal appeals lawyer will be looking for some kind of error in the trial procedings.
Your criminal appeals lawyer will looking for errors that occured during the trial process.
Errors that can mean an appeal for you Include:
- An error which goes to the central focus, and which can be considered by the court "in the interest of justice," even if the appellant fails to properly raise the issue on appeal
- An error which the appellate court concludes had a probable impact on the outcome of the trial. This is very important.
- An error which the appellate court concludes had no effect on the outcome of a trial. For example, if a defendant confesses to a murder, and the prosecution has his fingerprints on the murder weapon, the use of inadmissible "hearsay" testimony is likely to be found "harmless," due to the "overwhelming evidence" against the defendant.
- Where the appellant asks the trial court to make a ruling which is actually erroneous, that party cannot later appeal the trial court's decision on the basis of that error.
- An error which causes the appellate court to overturn the lower court's decision is a "reversible error."
Procedural Due Process
This involves the safeguard's to a person's liberty and property, set forth in the Constitution, such as the right to an attorney, the right to appointed counsel if you are indigent, the right to compel witnesses to appear at trial, the right to confront prosecution witnesses at trial, and the right to obtain a transcript of trial proceedings.
Substantive Due Process
This involves the broad notion that a person shall not be arbitrarily deprived of his life, liberty or property. If a person is deprived of the opportunity to appeal a court decision, or is convicted when the prosecutor fails to produce "exculpatory evidence" which tends to prove his innocence, his substantive due process rights have been violated.
The criminal appeals process can be very confusing. All of this should be discussed with your criminal appeals lawyer. Guy Seligman has over a decade of experience in criminal appeals.