How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask JD Your Own Question
JD, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1335
Experience:  Over 11 years of practice in litigation including 10 years as a state prosecutor
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a son that is incarcerated for armed robbery in South

Resolved Question:

I have a son that is incarcerated for armed robbery in South Carolina, in the trial the woman said that she never saw my son and he never said anything to her, the gunman pulled the gun on my son and told him to drive. They have not got the gunman but they convicted my son on the hand of one hand of all. It was my sons car and he was the driver. He was there but he was held in destress. can the armed robbery charge be overturned to an accessory after the fact since he did not do the act? Is there anything that I can do to help him?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  JD replied 7 years ago.
Did your son plead or go to trial?

Edited by JD on 3/6/2010 at 1:34 AM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
he went to trial
Expert:  JD replied 7 years ago.

You son will need to pursue his appellate options. He and his attorney will want to challenge the validity of the trial and examine the record closely for rulings made by the court that can be challenged. Basically and appeal gives you the ability to get a new trial for 1) bad evidentiary rulings, 2) errors so significant that the trial was tainted (plain error), and 3) insufficient evidence as a matter of law (very hard to win on this).


If the appeals fail then your son may wish to challenge the validity of the trial because of some deficient performance of his attorney. This is called ineffective assistance of counsel. Generally we see these challenges filed after the final appeal is completed in the form of a petition for post conviction relief. Ineffective assistance of counsel claims are hard to make as you must show the attorney's representation was so ineffective as to render the trial unconstitutionally unfair. This is a very hard standard to meet.


If that fails then he will be basically limited to writs of habeas corpus (unlawful paperwork or procedure was used to hold someone captive) or a writ of error coram nobis (a writ filed if new evidence that would clear a defendant is discovered post trial). These writs are rarely granted and seldom given any attention by the courts.


To answer your specific question about the facts of the case... the trial is designed to sort out facts in a case. Apparently the jury did not believe your son's claims that he was held under distress. Juries are the judges of the facts in a criminal case. While appellate courts give the jury a great deal of deference, if your son's attorney can show the record does not contain sufficient proof to convict him then he could be granted a new trial. The standard requires the court view all facts taken in a light most favorable to the prosecution. Using this standard, if there is still insufficient evidence to support the verdict then it cannot stand.


His attorney will need to guide you through the elements of the offense and where in the record the state proved his guilt on each element.


Please reply if I can help further.



Remember to click ACCEPT only when you are satisfied with your answers. This is how we get paid for our time with your questions. I would also appreciate any positive feedback you could provide. If you are not satisfied then please reply to me so I can further assist you or find someone else to help. I am not your attorney. Therefore no attorney-client relationship exists and any communications on this website are not subject to the attorney-client privilege. For this reason, please do not divulge any personal information and use this site only for hypothetical questions. This forum is for general questions and answers and I cannot provide you with applicable law or legal opinions or advice in your jurisdiction. Please seek the advice of a competent attorney in your jurisdiction. While I can answer general questions and discuss general legal principles, I cannot give you legal advice in your state. The internet is a great place to get general information but should not be seen as a substitute for the attorney-client relationship or the services of a good lawyer in your state.

JD and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you