Most people think of the criminal justice system as a way to protect the public from offenders. Our legal system was designed so that when someone is convicted of a crime, in one way or another, they pay a debt to society. “Paying” their debt can include a jail or prison sentence, probation, community service, paying fines and/or restitution to crime victims, having a permanent criminal record, being sent to a treatment program or mental health facility, or a combination of these things.
What some people may not realize is that the criminal justice system is also supposed to protect those falsely accused of a crime, and to ensure that the accused's rights are protected. Some of the constitutional rights all people have include:
Even though prosecutors, judges, and juries are required to uphold the law, the truth is, mistakes can and do happen in our legal system — mistakes that can lead to wrongful convictions of innocent people and violations of individuals constitutional rights. Someone convicted of a crime may also be unfairly sentenced based on procedural error or human bias, or because they received ineffective counsel.
With the advances made in collecting and processing forensic evidence, we often read about cases of innocent people being to sent prison for many years only to be cleared later by new DNA evidence. Innocent people have also been convicted of committing horrible crimes, including rape and murder, without any real physical evidence, based on the testimony of traumatized victims and witnesses. Even though the system is clear: someone must found “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” legal errors, human errors — and even personal bias, can lead a jury to render a guilty verdict even when there may actually be considerable doubt.
As is the case with any institution, sometimes, our criminal justice system fails and the defendant suffers as a result. When this happens, there is still another avenue the defense attorney can use to help a client — the appeal.
The Criminal Appellate Court system is designed up to allow the convicted the ability to request a review of another court’s decision, change or withdraw a plea, and make motions for a variety of legal purposes including to challenge imprisonment, an unfair sentence, or, in some cases, have the court consider new evidence that could not have been known prior to a verdict (such as DNA evidence proving innocence.) Motions for a new trial are also frequently filed — but also frequently denied so it is extremely important the you hire an attorney who can successfully handle your criminal appeal from start to finish.
The Michigan Court of Appeals has the authority to correct mistakes and overturn decisions made by the trial courts including wrongful convictions and unfair sentences. In turn, the Michigan Supreme Court can also do the same for erroneous decisions made by the Court of Appeals. And, the United States Supreme Court has the final say over all appeals in the nation, including those made by the Michigan Supreme Court.
There is a reason the appeals process exists: the trial court system is not perfect and not every decision made by juries and judges is made in accordance with the law, or, for that matter, is fair.
Scott Grabel is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has successfully handled complex appeals for clients. Whether you are seeking a Michigan state appeal or federal criminal appeal the attorneys at Grabel & Associates can advise you of your rights, the best legal strategy, and may be able to help you get a sentence reduced, or a reversal on a guilty verdict. Our law firm is able to appeal cases at every level including the Michigan Court of Appeals, Michigan Supreme Court, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, or the United States Supreme Court.
Attorney Scott Grabel is available to handle criminal appeals for the conviction of murder, white-collar crimes, domestic violence, criminal sexual conduct, assault, drug offenses, and other felonies or misdemeanor crimes.
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