When a trial court makes a decision, there is an assumption that their finding is the correct one and higher courts are hesitant to hear an appeal from the lower court. In order to hear it, the it must be demonstrated to the appellate court that there was an error in the trial and this was either a substantial error or a material one. This basically rules out harmless errors-those that are not likely to make a substantial difference in the result of the trial as they do not affect the defendant’s substantial rights.
Appealing a decision is often the course Louisiana defendants take to either lessen their sentence or change the verdict. It is important to understand the grounds on which the appeal can take place, so it can be pursued in a timely manner.
One of the grounds for an appeal is a plain error. A plain error is one which involves an error of law. This type of error affects the defendant’s substantial rights, such as miscalculating the sentence someone must be given. It is not necessary that the error be brought up during the course of the trial through timely objections. Another ground for appeal is by demonstrating that there was an insufficient weight of evidence. However, this is a much more difficult ground to succeed on-since appellate courts do not hear testimony or hear opening and closing arguments, they do not consider themselves in the best position to make a decision about the weight of the evidence.
There are also other instances in which an appeal can be made, but it is important to make sure that one’s situation fits the legal requirements. Preparing an aggressive criminal defense strategy is beneficial at this time and since an appeal has to be timely, it may be beneficial to consult an experienced attorney.
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