If you have been convicted of a crime and believe your trial was unfair or that the judge or your lawyer made mistakes, you could have grounds to appeal your conviction. To do this, your attorney will need to write a detailed brief of all the missteps that occurred during the trial and argue your case before the Massachusetts Appeals Court or the Supreme Judicial Court.
At Elkins, Auer, Rudof & Schiff, our Northampton appellate attorneys have successfully appealed convictions for clients throughout Massachusetts. Through our appellate work, our clients have had convictions vacated, been granted new trials, and ensured that illegally obtained evidence was kept out of their trials. Elkins, Auer, Rudof & Schiff appellate attorneys have presented Massachusetts’ highest courts with novel issues of law and secured groundbreaking victories for our clients.
Do I Have Grounds for an Appeal?
If you want to move forward with an appeal, you will need to give your attorney some tangible reason as to why the conviction was not warranted. A knowledgeable appellate attorney can review everything that happened in your trial and determine whether you have good issues for an appeal.
Some common reasons for criminal appeals include:
- Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. Was your attorney prepared? Did they make mistakes at trial or prior to trial that meant you were not able to present your best defense? If you believe your attorney made mistakes that another lawyer wouldn’t have, you may be able to appeal based on ineffective assistance of counsel.
- Mistakes by the judge and prosecutor. Did the judge allow the jury to hear testimony or see evidence that should not have been admitted at trial? Did the prosecutor present the evidence in an unfair and improper manner and did the judge fail to stop him? Did the judge prevent your attorney from presenting evidence that would have helped your defense? Judges have a duty to make sure that you have a fair trial and an opportunity to present your best defense. If this didn’t happen in your trial, you may have a good issue for appeal.
- Insufficient evidence. In our justice system, guilty verdicts should only be rendered when all doubt has been cast aside. If the prosecutor has failed to present enough evidence for any reasonable juror to find a person guilty, the judge is supposed to throw the case out. But that doesn’t always happen and jurors sometimes find people guilty without sufficient evidence. An appellate attorney can help you determine whether or not there was enough evidence to sustain your conviction.