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Reasons To Appeal In A Delaware Criminal Case

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You might be able to overlook certain mistakes that affect your life, but you should not have to pay the price when legal errors affect the outcome in a Delaware criminal case. Judges are only human, which is why the laws allow a defendant to appeal certain findings. The appellate court serves as a second set of eyes and ears for purposes of reviewing what transpired below. If you believe mistakes by the trial court judge led to a conviction or other adverse result, you can initiate the Delaware criminal appeals process by filing the necessary documents within 30 days after the verdict.

However, disappointment with the outcome of the case is not a sufficient basis for an appeal. You must have grounds to take a criminal case to the appellate level, and the rules are very specific. A Wilmington criminal appeals lawyer can help navigate the process when faced with any of the following reasons to appeal. 

Errors During Pretrial Stages 

Well before your trial begins, there are numerous court hearings and activities taking place. Pretrial proceedings also focus on evidence, and a judge could make a mistake in ruling on:

  • Motions to compel, through which one side seeks to force the other to provide evidence to which they do not have access; and
  • Motions to dismiss, which is a way to get evidence tossed because it violates your constitutional rights or other laws. 

Mishandling of Evidence 

In your own case and in film trials, you probably heard the prosecution and your own defense attorney make objections. For various reasons, the objecting lawyer is contesting the evidence or witness testimony that the other side is attempting to present. An objection is immediately followed by the judge either:

  • Sustaining the objection, i.e., agreeing with the objection; OR
  • Overruling the objecting attorney.

The judge’s decision in either scenario affects the admissibility of evidence, so errors in ruling on objections could give rise to an appeal. 

Jury Misconduct 

Either because of mistakes or willful actions, there can be legal errors related to the actions of jurors. If a member of the jury lied while the attorneys were selecting the panel, this could be reason to file an appeal. Improper communications, alcohol use, or speaking to the media may also mean taking your case before the appellate court. 

Ethics Violations by the Prosecution 

The vast majority of prosecutors are entirely professional in handling cases, but some engage in misconduct. One of the biggest problems is when the government engages in inappropriate conversations with witnesses or does not reveal the existence of evidence that might have cleared you of the charges.

Speak to a New Castle County Criminal Defense Attorney About Appeals 

This overview helps explain some of the reasons to take a criminal case to the appellate court, but the process is extremely complicated in practice. To avoid putting your rights at risk, please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica to discuss your options. You can set up a consultation at our Wilmington, DE office by calling 302.600.1262 or visiting us online.

Resource:

courts.delaware.gov/rules/pdf/handbook.pdf

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