After Conviction, A Second Chance For Justice
A criminal conviction certainly seems final and permanent, and often, it is. But if mistakes, errors or omissions negatively impacted your original trial and led to a conviction, you may be able to appeal the verdict and get a second chance at justice.
Many criminal defense firms in Fargo, North Dakota do not take on appeals or motions for post-conviction relief because they require a lot of work, careful planning and tenacity. But Sheeley Law, P.C., is ready to help you continue to fight for your rights and freedom after a guilty verdict.
Do You Have Grounds For Appeal?
You cannot appeal a ruling simply because you don’t agree with it. Instead, you must present evidence showing that there was an error or misconduct during the original trial serious enough to impact the verdict.
I’m attorney Charles Sheeley. As a former prosecutor, I understand how criminal cases are prepared and tried, and I know that mistakes or misconduct can lead to unfair outcomes. Reasons to file an appeal include:
- Certain evidence should have been admitted at trial, but was denied.
- Certain evidence should have been excluded at trial, but was incorrectly allowed.
- Prosecutors made inappropriate comments during opening or closing statements that unfairly biased jurors.
- The judge issued incorrect jury instructions.
- Prosecutors withheld important evidence that should have been disclosed to the defense and/or admitted at trial.
Because the burden of proof is high, it is not easy to successfully argue for an appeal. However, it is worth pursuing if you were denied justice in an unfair trial.
Post-Conviction Relief Is Another Option
If you have exhausted your appeals or don’t have grounds to appeal in the first place, you may still be able to pursue reduced consequences through civil procedure known as post-conviction relief.
Reasons to file a motion for post-conviction relief might include asserting that:
- You originally pleaded guilty due to bad advice from your lawyer (ineffective assistance of counsel).
- Your constitutional rights were violated in the original trial.
- The sentence you received isn’t authorized by law.
- New evidence has come to light since the trial that would likely lead to a different verdict.
If successful, motions for post-conviction relief can result in a vacated sentence or a reduced sentence. If you prevail, you may be entitled to a new trial.