Overturning a Guilty Verdict in a Federal Criminal Appeal
If you have been convicted, but you think that the jury was wrong on the verdict, you may want to overturn this. You can challenge the jury’s conclusion to have an opportunity to exonerate your good name. Many would believe that this is what appeal is for. Many think that an appeal is meant to challenge the verdict. Although it makes sense, federal criminal appeals do not work this way and the reason for the appeal too.
The process of federal appeal is not easy like any other process in a legal system. The process has rules that must be followed. Imagine if anyone convicted could appeal to prove innocence after being found guilty. Many people would want to appeal, and this would lead to the justice system being overwhelmed. Appealing is crucial because it is used to challenge the presented evidence at a trial. The appeal considers the case and what was presented only. It means if you have a witness who was not there during your trial, he/she cannot come forward during the appeal. Even if you believe that the witness has valuable evidence to help in the appeal, they cannot come because an appeal looks at what was presented.
One of grounds of an appeal is if the prosecutor had crucial evidence that he was supposed to share because of legal obligation but did not share. You could use this as a ground to appeal for the verdict. The main purpose of an appeal is to challenge the technical issues of the case. For example, if you believe that some rules were broken, there was no adherence to timelines or failure to follow statutory laws. You could use these to make your appeal.
In a federal case, appeals may fail to overturn a guilty verdict, but if you think that you were improperly convicted or the trial was unfair, you may want to take legal action. The court, as well as the prosecutor, should follow the rules. If they do not follow the rules, consequences are there. The consequences of this include doing away with the verdict and starting a new trial.
If convicted in a criminal case, appealing enables you to challenge the finding of the jury. It gives you a chance to show that you are not guilty and the jury was wrong on their verdict. If convicted, what you want to do is to make the court of appeal to agree with you that the jury was wrong and that the jury improperly convicted you. Appealing is sensible because if you are innocent, you would want to appeal and change the finding by the jury. The problem is that appeals are difficult to bring.
The first reason why they are difficult is the standard used by courts when looking at the verdict and whether it should be upset. It is difficult to meet the standard. The standard is if there is anyone who was reasonable in the jury when they looked at the evidence and came up with the decision that the person was guilty. The court of appeal looks at whether the interpretation is reasonable and if the evidence presented is consistent to prove guilty. They look at various things like what government introduced, what the prosecutor introduced and what was introduced by the person on trial. When they consider all these, they will not overturn the verdict. They will say they are not taking the conviction away.
It is difficult to bring an appeal also when you want to argue that the jury did not see some documents or they did not hear from a particular witness. You may think that if the jury had seen a particular document or they had heard from a certain witness, they would have reached a different conclusion. But this cannot work because in a federal case you will only use what was used during the trial and you cannot add other witnesses or documents. If you think that you have evidence, that could change the jury’s final decision, and you will not bring it to the court of appeal.
Such challenges face appeals. In most cases, the appeal will work when there are technical elements. You can make use of technical elements and succeed in your appeal. For example, if something should have crossed a state line but the government failed to show it. For example, if FDIC should have insured the bank but the government neglected this and failed to introduce such evidence this could be the best position to win your appeal. However, such cases are rare to happen. If they happen, you may use them to overturn the verdict by the jury. You can visitthis resource center to get important information to help you understand how appeals work.