Raising Constitutional Issues in Criminal Appeals

Are you seeking information on constitutional issues in criminal appeals? Conklin Law can provide all the resources and information you need. Call us today.

Criminal Appeals on Constitutional Grounds

If your constitutional rights have been violated before or during your trial, you have the right to appeal and challenge the trial court’s sentence or conviction.

Throughout the criminal process, from police interviews to sentencing, your constitutional rights must be respected and protected regardless of your guilt or lack thereof. If you are unaware of these rights, you won’t know when they are violated, especially in the absence of adequate legal counsel.

Federal constitutional violations can lead to unfair trials and excessive sentences, so if you have believe that your rights have been violated, you should consult an attorney.

Conklin Law’s criminal appeals lawyer in Atlanta can analyze your case for any possible violations and conduct an appellate review on your behalf. We can work to secure a retrial or acquittal for you.

Constitutional Grounds for an Appeal

By filing an appeal, you are requesting the court of appeals to correct errors committed by the police, court judge, prosecution, jury, or legal counsel. Such errors may include:

 

Violation of Constitutional Rights by the Police

During a criminal investigation, law enforcement officers can violate your constitutional rights in many ways, including:

  • Conducting an unlawful search or seizure which violates the Fourth Amendment
  • Coercing or manipulating you to confess or self-incriminate yourself in violation of the Fifth Amendment
  • Denying your right to remain silent or consult an attorney during a police interview, thus violating your Miranda rights
  • Denying your rights to an attorney during pretrial hearings in violation of the Sixth Amendment

Constitutional Rights Violation at Trial

The United States Constitution protects every defendant’s right to a fair trial. If the trial court fails to provide and maintain a fair trial, its ruling could be reversed by a higher court. Some constitutional right violations that can take place during a trial include:

Unconstitutionality of the law

Sometimes, the statute under which you were prosecuted and convicted violates the provisions of the U.S. Constitution or Georgia Constitution. For instance, if a state law violates or contradicts the U.S. Constitution,ncriminal conviction under that law will be reversed.

Admission of Unlawfully Obtained Evidence

The exclusionary rule prohibits the use of unlawfully gathered evidence through violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights. If otherwise inadmissible evidence is allowed in court, the appellate court may overturn the lower court’s decision.

Incorrect Jury Instructions

The judge is responsible for guiding the jury during the trial. If the jury returned a guilty verdict based on incorrect, misleading, or confusing instructions from the presiding judge, the trial may be considered unfair, and a retrial may be ordered.

Prosecutorial Misconduct

When prosecutors engage in dishonest or illegal acts to influence the final judgment, it could be a federal constitutional violation.

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

If your criminal lawyer doesn’t act competently during the trial, and you can show unfairness because of their incompetence, the criminal conviction obtained can be overturned.

Illegal Selection or Exclusion of Jurors

Before a criminal trial, the prosecution and the defense are allowed to remove a certain number of prospective jurors. If the prosecution intentionally excludes jurors of a certain group in order to influence the outcome of the trial, a retrial may be necessary to enforce your right to a fair trial.

Violation of the Right to Cross-Examination

Limiting or precluding a defendant from cross-examining and confronting witnesses is a violation of the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution and warrants the reversal of the conviction.

The Criminal Appeals Process in Georgia

The right to appeal is provided for in state constitutional and statutory provisions. In Georgia, section 5-6-33 of the Criminal Code states that all defendants have the right to appeal their conviction to a state appellate court.

If you believe you were wrongly or unfairly convicted, our lawyers at Conklin Law are ready to walk you through the Georgia appeals process and do everything possible to obtain a favorable outcome.

To start the appeals process, your lawyer typically files a one-page document requesting a new trial with the trial court clerk. Among others, the notice should include the following details:

  • Your and your attorney’s contact details
  • The offense and the judgment you want to challenge
  • A general statement that the conviction should be reversed due to errors of law committed at trial. These errors can be specified later.

The notice must be filed within 30 days of the criminal conviction, and copies must be served to the opposing party.

If the trial court denies your request for a new trial, usually after a hearing, you can then appeal that denial to an appellate court. After the appellate court receives your request and the relevant documents from the trial court, your attorney then files the appellate brief. Sometimes, appellate courts call for an oral hearing where the lawyers argue their cases.

Depending on the grounds of your appeal, the appellate court can order a retrial or grant you an acquittal. In case of an acquittal, the prosecution cannot retry you for the same offense.

If your appeal is denied, you may be able to file a Petition for Certiorari with the Supreme Court of Georgia or the Supreme Court of the United States. If the Supreme Court justices agree to review your case, you will be granted certiorari.

Your last resort if the Supreme Court affirms your conviction or denies your request for certiorari is habeas corpus. A convicted defendant can file a habeas corpus with a state or federal district court to challenge the legality of their incarceration based on constitutional violations. If granted, the court may order a new trial, reduced sentence, or release from prison.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Raising constitutional issues on appeal can be challenging. Working with a criminal defense attorney can help you advocate for your rights in court. Your attorney will review the trial record, identify any constitutional violations, and articulate these issues before the appellate court.

  • Working with an attorney can help you identify the constitutional issues that are most likely to succeed on appeal, such as Fourth Amendment search and seizure violations, Fifth Amendment self-incrimination issues, or the Sixth Amendment right to fair trial concerns.
  • Your attorney will conduct extensive legal research to find precedents and case law that support the constitutional arguments. With the help of this research, the issues can be framed in a way that has turned out to be successful in previous cases.
  • Drafting the appellate brief is another critical task your attorney can help with. The attorney can outline the constitutional issues in a clear and precise manner, citing relevant case law and provisions to argue that the trial court erred in its rulings.
  • Help you meet all procedural requirements crucial for the appeal to be considered. This includes filing notices, briefs, and other documents within the specified deadlines.
  • Throughout the process, your attorney should keep you informed and involved, explaining the complexities of raising constitutional issues on appeal and setting realistic expectations.
  • If the appeal is successful, the attorney can guide you through the next steps, which might include a new trial, re-sentencing, or even release.

 

Tyler Conklin at Conklin Law Can Help You

When your constitutional rights are violated, it is crucial to seek the help and advice of experienced appeal attorneys. At Conklin Law, we have a proven track record of successful appeals across Georgia.

We can identify any constitutional rights violations and handle the appeals process for you. Time is of the essence. Call appellate attorney Tyler Conklin at Conklin Law today to schedule a consultation.

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