If you found a harmful legal error that led to your conviction, you may file an appeal and request that a judge review your case. Showing that a mistake in the court’s actions or processing occurred may compel a judge to overturn a conviction.
According to the American Bar Association, appeals help the courts apply and follow uniform standards. An error made during your case, for example, may reveal an issue in the legal system that needs correcting. Without appeals pointing out errors, the court may continue making mistakes and obstruct or delay future justice.
What is a legal error and how may I show one occurred?
Defendants with facts supporting a legal error made by the trial court may have strong grounds for filing an appeal. Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute explains that a mistake termed a “plain error” passes a four-prong test.
The plain error test requires showing a deviation from an established legal rule. The mistake must also be clear or obvious and not disputable. Finally, the mistake must diminish the court’s reputation or show a lack of fairness or integrity in the ruling. Defendants must prove the error influenced the outcome of their case.
What types of errors may reflect legal mistakes?
A legal mistake may involve the court’s miscalculation of the length of your sentence. If you show that your sentence substantially differs from others convicted of the same offense, the court may review your case for calculation errors.
In a case reported by the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that jurors may face questioning before trial. A legal team may ask questions to determine if jurors could decide on fairness; an error may include lawyers failing to question the jury. An incompetent counselor may also err by failing to introduce testimony that could have resulted in a different outcome.