An appellate court is a trial to hear an appeal when the accused feels there was some serious mistake made at the initial trial resulting in an unfair ruling.
One example of a successfully overturned ruling is that of Ryan Ferguson, who was recently awarded $10 million in damages for being convicted as a result of false witness testimony and fabricated evidence.
Courts want to uphold the ruling from the first trial. But with the right evidence, you could also win a shot at overturning the ruling.
For an appellate hearing, you would have to prove:
- Insufficient evidence
- Serious error in law
- Abuse of discretion
- Inadequate representation at the previous trial
Aside from not having enough evidence to fairly prosecute you, you may be able to prove that the evidence used against you doesn’t have enough weight to criminalize you.
Error in Law (Plain Error)
This is likely to be your main argument in winning the appeal. An error in law is simply an instance where you can point out a mistake made in the trial process that impacted you unfairly. For example, a miscalculated prison sentence.
Abuse of Discretion
You’d have this in your favor if you could point out a bias on the part of the judge or jurors which affected the ruling. Even jury misconduct (like drug abuse) is grounds for an appeal.
If you can prove that your first defense lawyer was trying to sabotage you or purposefully withholding key resources, you may win the appeal.
An appellate hearing could be just the thing you need to reverse an unfair decision.