“I was wrongly convicted of murder. I spent nearly 17 years in prison fighting my case. When I finally won a new trial, I chose Greg Robey to be a part of my defense team. He found an FBI agent who had worked on the case in the 1980s, along with critical pieces of evidence that we thought were long lost. After a long and very hard-fought trial, I was found Not Guilty of all charges. I owe my freedom to Greg Robey and my defense team.” -R.R., Ravenna, Ohio
Many people mistakenly believe that a criminal conviction is a final decision, and there are no options left after one. Although courts are often reluctant to rehear cases in which time and money has already been spent, this does not mean it’s impossible for people to have the chance to appeal their convictions.
Unlike the original trial, which focused on the merits of the case, an appeal deals instead with the way the original case was prosecuted. In other words, defendants argue that their conviction was due to a mishandling of the original case and that they have the right to a new trial. These types of objections would include issues like whether certain evidence was deemed admissible or not (which may have helped the defendant or created an unfair prejudice) and instructions issued to the jury. It’s important to understand that defendants face a steep burden of proof in these cases, and it can be very difficult to actually win an appeal.
Another option defendants have, in addition to asking a higher court to review a trial court’s handling of the original case, is a post-trial motion. This motion essentially asks a trial court to fix any mistakes made during the trial. Because trial courts do not like the possibility of having their decisions reversed on appeal, these types of motions may give you a better chance at a successful result than an appeal.
However, if a defendant is not successful with this motion, it equips the trial court with a defendant’s potential grounds for appeal, allowing it to go on the offensive with a strong written opinion that addresses this argument directly.
What is important for a defendant to remember is that, even if you have been convicted, you do have legal options available to you. Speak with a dedicated northeast Ohio criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Gregory S. Robey to learn more.