"To open blind eyes, to bring prisoners out of a dungeon, those who sit in darkness out of a prison."
- Isaiah 42

Can a New York criminal appeal lead to a new trial?

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2023 | Federal Criminal Appeals, State Criminal Appeals

Someone who takes a criminal charge to trial likely believes in their own innocence. They expect to succeed in court and to avoid a conviction. Unfortunately, not everyone achieves their desired outcome during a criminal trial. Even those who prepare thoroughly for court could end up convicted. In some cases, the outcome of a trial represents a miscarriage of justice or a misinterpretation of the law.

Factors ranging from inappropriate evidence to juror bias could lead to an unfair outcome during a criminal trial in New York. The defendant could end up convicted despite continuing to assert their innocence due to factors outside of their control. Many recently convicted criminal defendants are still eager to prove their innocence. An appeal could be one way to overturn an unfavorable decision by the criminal courts.

Appeals are about legal mistakes

For the most part, a successful criminal appeal does not result in a new trial. The goal is instead to raise questions about how the lower courts ruled on the case. The appellate courts in New York will carefully review the documentation from the original trial. They will use that information to determine if there were major issues during the original trial that violated someone’s rights or the law.

For example, a defendant’s lawyer might claim that the jury or the prosecutor engaged in some type of misconduct. They may have failed to disclose a conflict of interest. A defense attorney appealing a conviction might point out that the judge did not follow state law when handing down a sentence. Sometimes, appeals involve procedural issues or the use of inappropriate evidence. Individuals can even appeal by raising a claim that their lawyer did not provide them with appropriate legal counsel.

The appeals process usually involves a thorough analysis followed by a written response. If the appellate courts agree that there was an error at the lower court level, they may reverse the outcome of the trial. In certain, rare circumstances, a successful appeal would lead to a new trial. However, a second trial is not an automatic component of a criminal appeal in New York. As a result, seeking legal guidance about such concerns can help to foster informed decision-making.