Being convicted of a crime in Michigan can not only take away your freedom, it can affect your employment, reputation, even your immigration status. If you or a loved one have been convicted of armed robbery, home invasion, theft, or even a sex or homicide crime, you may have heard the term ‘post-conviction relief.’ This is a general term often used in regards to appealing a criminal conviction and encompasses various statutory and equitable claims including vacating a conviction, modification of a conviction/sentence, motioning for a new trial, Habeas Corpus petitions, release, etc.
It is important to note that not every defendant may seek an appeal. For instance, someone who pleads guilty to a criminal offense may waive his or her right to an appeal. In a nutshell, an appeal is not a new trial, it is an opportunity in which those convicted may have the decision made by the lower court reviewed by the appellate court. A panel of judges will review trial records to determine whether the defendant’s claims of ineffective counsel, improper testimony, or other grounds for appeal are valid. The job of the appeals court is also to ensure the law was applied properly in terms of the verdict reached and sentencing, and that proper protocol was followed at trial.
The process of appealing is fairly straightforward, however it is essential to obtain the services of an experienced and dedicated Michigan criminal appeals attorney. Your lawyer will notify the appropriate court of your intent to appeal a verdict or sentence, then file a claim on your behalf. In most cases, the defendant will not appear at court. An appellate court panel will review written court documents, which include the documented transcripts taken by the court reporter at trial along with records of the court proceedings and other documents. This is where the experience and ability of your attorney comes in; whether or not the appeal is successful often hinges on the documents and information filed by your criminal appeals lawyer.
The fact is, there is typically an error made at some point in criminal proceedings; it is the job of a seasoned criminal appeals attorney to find any error which may result in having your conviction vacated or obtaining a new trial, and present this information in a compelling way to the appeals court.