Fighting Your Legal Disputes With An Unwavering Focus On Results

Criminal appeals based on ineffective counsel

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2023 | CRIMINAL LAW - Criminal Appeals

Washington residents who are convicted of crimes cannot file effective appeals simply because they maintain their innocence and believe that the jury made a mistake. When a jury returns a unanimous verdict, it can only be overturned if the trial was defective in some way. Verdicts may be appealed when the trial transcript suggests that exculpatory evidence was excluded, evidence that should have been excluded was allowed, one or more of the jurors was bribed or coerced, or the judge was biased or made legal errors. Verdicts may also be appealed if the defendant’s attorney did not provide effective counsel.

Ineffective counsel

When a criminal appeal is based on ineffective counsel, the appellant is claiming that the trial’s outcome would have been different if their lawyer had done a better job. Counsel could be ineffective if a defense attorney made legal mistakes or did not know the law, missed filing deadlines, acted unprofessionally in court, ignored the defendant’s requests or made decisions without consulting them.

The odds of success are slim

Trails and jury verdicts are considered sacrosanct, which means the odds of overturning a criminal conviction are slim. This is especially true when appeals are mounted because of alleged ineffective counsel. In 2000, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit denied an ineffective counsel appeal even though the evidence clearly showed that the defense attorney involved fell asleep several times during the trial. The defendant in that case was a man who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

Choose a lawyer wisely

Criminal convictions can only be appealed if the trial was deficient in some way that influenced the outcome. Individuals who are convicted of crimes can mount appeals if they believe that their defense lawyers did not provide them with adequate and effective counsel, but their chances of success are not good.