In July of this year, 71-year-old Charles Black was convicted of attempting to murder his then-wife in April of 2011 when he allegedly hit her in the head with a rock and pushed her off a cliff in Maine. Black tumbled over the cliff with his wife, Lisa Zahn, and both were hospitalized for a time. Both Black and Zahn were retired teachers from Kansas, according to the Huffington Post.
Allegedly, the two got into an argument regarding a $4 million inheritance Zahn had received from her father, how Black was spending it, and his alleged affair with an Arizona woman. It was during this argument that Black allegedly tried to kill Zahn by pushing her over the cliff.
Black told police that while they were on the mountain top, he had collected two rocks thinking that he and Zahn would throw the rocks over the cliff, a symbol of freeing themselves of the baggage in their marriage and making a fresh start. Zahn, 55, testified at trial that Black hit her three times in the head with the rock before being pushed over the cliff, where she landed on a ledge before making her way to the bottom to get help.
In September, Black was sentenced to 10 years in prison. According to a news article at WCSH6, Black’s attorney has filed an appeal of the conviction and sentence on his behalf. News reports do not indicate the grounds for the appeal, or what arguments Black’s attorney will raise in the appeal.
Even the most experienced Michigan criminal appeals lawyers know that successfully appealing a conviction or sentence is not easy, and in fact is quite difficult. It is rare that someone who has been convicted of a serious criminal offense wins at appeal, although it does happen. The biggest factor in those cases in which a conviction is overturned by an appeals court is the quality of appellate attorney the defendant has.
If you have been wrongly convicted or have been sentenced in a way you feel is excessive in comparison to the crime, consult with a capable and skilled Michigan criminal appeals attorney who is well-versed in the appeals process, and what is needed to reach a successful outcome.