Experienced Criminal Appeals Lawyer Serving the Quincy and Boston Areas
Criminal appeal questions? Keegan Law can help!
If you were tried and found guilty in criminal court, this does not necessarily mean that your future is set in stone. You may have the right to file an appeal, to essentially challenge the verdict or sentence on the basis of errors or misconduct that rendered the trial ineffective. An appeal is not a retrial. Appeals courts are not in the habit of considering new evidence or witness testimony. They instead review the previous trial for errors related to trial proceedings or the judge’s interpretation of the law. These errors must be significant enough to have impacted the outcome of the case.
Considering an appeal? Call a Boston criminal defense lawyer at Keegan Law for information that applies to your unique case: (617) 799-7644
In Massachusetts, a defendant may challenge a verdict reached in criminal court through a direct appeal, in which the case is brought before an appellate court. This may be the Appeals Court or the Supreme Judicial Court. Virtually all cases are first brought to the Appeals Court, and if a party disagrees with the decision made by the Appeals Court, the case can then be brought to the Supreme Judicial Court for review.
The first step will be to file a Notice of Appeal, which must be completed within a certain amount of time (typically 30 days), or you could lose your right to appeal.
You must have sufficient grounds to file an appeal. Possible grounds may include: insufficient evidence to support a conviction, improper jury instructions, improper admission or exclusion of evidence, incorrect legal rulings on pretrial motions, improper closing argument by the prosecution, juror misconduct or legal errors.
If your appeal is accepted by the Appeals Court, your attorney will need to write and submit the appellate brief, which essentially outlines the facts of the case, analyzes the legal issues raised and offers an argument of your position. Once your attorney files this brief, the opposing party will have the opportunity to file a responding brief. Your attorney can then file a short reply.
Once all briefs have been filed, the Appeals Court may schedule a court date to hear oral arguments. The Appeals Court may consider briefs and oral arguments in rendering a decision on an appeal. The Appeals Court may uphold or affirm the decision made by the lower court, may order a new trial, may send the case back to the lower court or may modify the lower court’s decision.
Contact our offices today to discuss the appeals process and how we can help you.