Recently, Darrell Brooks, a Gulfport, MS resident, lost his appeal of his murder conviction for the fatal shooting of 29-year-old David Shivers Jr. in December of 2009. Brooks was convicted in 2011 for the shooting of Shivers, who died in his home. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Brooks appealed his conviction and requested a new trial based on the argument that in his initial trial, there were no eyewitnesses that could link him to the fatal shooting, and no physical evidence supporting the allegations against him. At the time of Shivers’ murder, his mother, brother, and brother’s girlfriend were in the home, but none of the three actually saw the shooting although they did hear a gunshot. The presence of glass from a kitchen window led investigators to believe that Shivers was shot through the window.
The state Court of Appeals said on Tuesday, March 31, that there was evidence that Brooks, whose estranged wife was dating Shivers at the time, followed her; the appeals court also said evidence existed that Brooks had threatened to kill Shivers. In addition, Brooks attempted to secure a gun from two people according to the appeals court, and two witnesses testified at trial that Brooks had requested of them to use them as an alibi for the night in question when Shivers was fatally shot in his Gulfport home. The Court of Appeals denied Brooks’ request for a new trial.
Being granted a new trial by an appeals court rarely happens, particularly in serious or violent crimes such as murder. However, when there is compelling evidence that an error was made during the criminal justice process, an appeals court may throw out a conviction or sentence. Defendant’s may claim ineffective assistance of counsel, errors made in instructing the jurors, even mistakes or violations involving police. When you believe you have a strong argument to appeal a conviction or sentence, be sure to choose a Michigan criminal appeals attorney who is highly experienced and capable in the appeals process.