Challenging the Sufficiency of Evidence on Appeal

Conklin Law can guide you in challenging the sufficiency of evidence on appeal. Get in touch with us today so that we can have a deeper discussion.

What Is Challenging the Sufficiency of Evidence on Appeal?

Receiving an unfavorable jury verdict is never the anticipated outcome, but it’s not necessarily the end. If the jury did not legally have sufficient evidence to convict you, you may appeal on that basis.

Challenging the sufficiency of the evidence is one of the most common bases for appeal in Georgia. The premise of this appeal is the prosecution’s failure to present strong enough evidence for any reasonable juror to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Appeals based on the sufficiency or weight of the evidence are challenging, but they are worthwhile. Depending on the grounds of your appeal and the elements you are challenging, you could walk free. Conklin Law can help you appeal your conviction at the Court of Appeals in Atlanta or the Georgia Supreme Court.

Insufficient Evidence to Prove Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

In criminal cases, the burden of proof is on the state. The prosecutors are required to present evidence that any reasonable juror will deem enough to convict you. Usually, both parties will present their evidence in the early stages of the trial. If the judge presiding over the trial finds that the prosecution’s evidence doesn’t meet the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, they may dismiss the case or enter a directed verdict due to the insufficiency of the evidence.

However, trials are not perfect, and they can lead to convictions even if there’s a lack of evidence. In this is your case, an experienced appeals attorney can challenge the verdict on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

Appealing a Conviction on the Grounds of Insufficient Evidence

When a defendant believes they were convicted despite the lack of evidence against them, they file a sufficiency of the evidence appeal with an appellate court. The appeal is a request to review the trial court’s findings to determine if the presented evidence is enough to prove the defendant’s guilt. In reviewing the case, the appellate court will assess whether:

  • Permissible inferences exist

  • The verdict was against the weight of the evidence

  • The evidence satisfied the burden of proof for all elements of a case

Appellate courts do not conduct a sufficiency review to decide whether the trial judge or jury was right. The appellate review assesses whether they reached a verdict based only on the facts presented, not their own findings or biases. Therefore, appellate judges weigh the verdict against the evidence presented by the prosecution using any evidence standard. They review the whole evidence, including one that doesn’t support the jury’s verdict.

If the Court of Appeals finds that the evidence was sufficient to convict you, it upholds the decision of the trial court. However, if it decides that the evidence was insufficient, you will be acquitted. An appeal on the grounds of the insufficiency of the evidence is one of the few that could lead to an acquittal. The double jeopardy clause of the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from being tried for the same offense twice.

You may need to talk to an attorney about the Georgia appeals process to know what and what not to expect. They can review your case and see if it qualifies for a sufficiency challenge.

How to File a Sufficiency of the Evidence Challenge?

Here are the steps you should follow to file an appeal to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence:

  • File the notice of appeal with the appellate court and serve a copy to the prosecution

  • Pay the filing fee

  • Order the trial transcripts and submit them on time.

  • Prepare the brief and submit it to the appellate court

  • The appellate judges review whether there was sufficient evidence and give their judgment

Given the complexity of the process and the laws that regulate it, you should consult and work with a criminal appeals attorney.

What Happens if You Do Not Challenge Sufficiency of Evidence on Appeal?

A conviction without sufficient evidence is a violation of your right to a fair trial. If you don’t challenge the verdict, you could spend many years in prison where you should have served fewer or none. You don’t have to go through that. You have the right to file an appeal and challenge the jury’s verdict.

Here are other common grounds for appeal that may apply to your case:

  • Ineffective assistance of counsel

  • Incorrect jury instructions

  • Sentencing errors

The list goes on! You should talk to your attorney about your case and the available grounds of criminal appeal in Georgia.

What Happens if the Prosecution Lacks Sufficient Evidence?

When there’s not enough evidence supporting the charges against you, the judge may dismiss your case or grant a directed verdict. If the trial court rules on the case despite the prosecution’s failure to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you have the right to appeal the ruling. The appellate court may reverse the judgment of the trial court, and you will be acquitted.

In some cases, prosecutors offer plea deals before your jury trial concludes. Your attorney can advise you on whether cutting a deal is the right call.


Conklin Law is Here to Help

Receiving a guilty verdict is devastating, but it’s not the end of your fight. You do not have to accept that conviction if you feel the evidence against you does not prove your guilt. Our criminal appeals lawyer in Atlanta is ready to appeal your case and get you the justice you deserve.

Insufficiency of the evidence can be a strong ground for appeal, and we have the knowledge, experience, and resources to use it to your advantage. Even if you pleaded guilty, we may be able to help you file a motion to withdraw it.

Our determined and passionate attorneys can draft a strong brief and plead before the appellate court if needed. You do not have to serve a prison term or pay a fine you received without enough evidence. Contact Conklin Law today.

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