Oftentimes, many people believe once the jury returns the verdict his or her case has come to a conclusion. This could not be further from the truth. Actually, after a jury verdict and after the sentence is imposed, this can be the beginning of an entirely new stage of the case. An important stage of the case-the appeal.
The Court of Criminal Appeals reviews mistakes that may have been made at the Trial Court level. However, a Defendant does not automatically get to appear in front of the Appellate Court to argue his or her case. There is a very important step in the process.
Once a sentence has been imposed and a Final Order entered at the Trial Court level, a Defendant has thirty (30) days to file a Motion for New Trial at the Trial Court level. Missing this very important window of time can be detrimental in the appellate process and may be grounds for post-conviction relief. If the Motion for New Trial is not filed, a Defendant may miss out on the opportunity to ask the Appellate Court to review the potential errors made by the Trial Court.
Importantly, the Motion for New Trial must contain all of the grounds the Defendant intends to raise on appeal. Failure to raise each ground/basis for a new trial, at the Trial Court level, may constitute waiver of the issue and a Defendant may be prohibited from later arguing the issue in front of the Appellate Court. We’ll spend more time on this topic in a later blog.
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