What to Do If You’ve Been Wrongfully Convicted of a Crime
Being wrongfully convicted of a crime can leave you feeling helpless and afraid. As you try to cope with the consequences of the court’s decision, remember an unfair ruling may not be the end of the road. If you have a valid reason why the verdict should be overturned, you can appeal the court’s ruling. But what is considered a reason or “grounds” for an appeal?
If you believe you were wrongfully convicted or your sentence was too harsh, you must speak with a lawyer immediately. As an experienced appeals lawyer in Indianapolis, Jesse K. Sanchez will bring a new perspective and fresh insight to your case and help you determine whether the appeals process is a viable option. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Appealing a Criminal Conviction in Indiana
Defendants have the right to file an appeal when they feel they were either wrongfully convicted or received an unfair punishment. By filing an appeal, the party asks the appellate court to reverse the decision made by the lower court. In an appeal, the defendant’s attorney will raise legal errors that occurred during the initial process that likely impacted the outcome of the case.
Under What Conditions Can You Ask for an Appeal?
Defendants can’t appeal a court’s ruling simply because they are unhappy with the outcome. There must be a valid reason or “grounds” for a case to be overturned. Grounds for an appeal include the following:
Law enforcement must have probable cause or a warrant to make an arrest. If they don’t, the arrest is considered a “false arrest,” which could be grounds for an appeal. A defendant can also file an appeal if a faulty search warrant led to his or her arrest.
A mistake made by a judge or court can wrongly influence or change a case’s outcome and, therefore, are grounds for an appeal. An example of a judicial error is a judge who did not follow the appropriate sentencing guidelines and/or miscalculated a defendant’s sentence.
When a juror does not follow the rules of the court, their misconduct is seen as valid grounds for an appeal. Examples of juror misconduct include engaging in outside communication with witnesses or court personnel and using the Internet to research the details of the case.
A party can file an appeal if the prosecutor in the case broke a law or violated a code of professional conduct. Examples include asking improper questions during cross-examination or withholding evidence from the defense.
Ineffective assistance of counsel
An attorney has a duty to provide their client with competent legal representation. If they fail to do so, it is considered an infringement of the defendant’s right to legal representation under the 6th Amendment, and an appeal can be filed.
Improper jury instructions
A defendant can appeal their conviction if the judge gave improper or insufficient instructions to the jury and, in doing so, led the jury to reach a different verdict than one that would have been reached if proper instructions were given.
Improper admission or exclusion of evidence
Before trial, prosecutors and defense attorneys attend a hearing in front of the judge to determine which pieces of evidence will be allowed in the courtroom. If improper evidence is presented or proper evidence is not allowed, the defendant can appeal their verdict.
Insufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict
There must be sufficient evidence to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If a guilty verdict is issued without sufficient evidence, the defendant may have a legal basis for an appeal.
Speak with an Experienced Appellate Attorney in Indianapolis to Learn More
A guilty verdict doesn’t necessarily have to be final. If errors or misconduct occurred in your criminal case, you may have the right to appeal the court’s ruling and have your conviction or sentence overturned. In Indiana, you only have 30 days from the date of your conviction to file an appeal, so you must act quickly.
As a skilled and dedicated criminal defense attorney in Indianapolis, Jesse K. Sanchez is committed to protecting and defending the rights of his clients. If you believe you were wrongfully convicted or received a punishment that didn’t fit the crime, you can count on Mr. Sanchez to do everything within his power to get you the justice you deserve. Remember, your fate is not sealed after an unfair court ruling. You do still have rights. Contact our office today to book a confidential, no-obligation case review.