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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27460
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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i was recently in criminal court in a small town. my public

Customer Question

i was recently in criminal court in a small town. my public pretender had me testify against myself., and take the stand in my own trial against myself ..there was huge problems with the prosecutions case to find me convicted....beyound a reasonable doubt...? can i appeal a jury trial case?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.

I would hope that you were not told to take the stand to confess your guillt, which is what you are suggesting. That would be malpractice. Sometimes, however, the only way a defense will come out is if the defendant takes the stand on his own behalf. The good news is that he gets to tell his story during direct examination. The bad is that the prosecutor will try to trip up the defendant and tear his testimony apart if he can. If that's what happened to you, I'm sorry to hear it.

Yes after a jury trial you have 30 days to file your notice of appeal. From there you would need to have your lawyer turn the file over to a post-conviction attorney. Your lawyer couldn't do your appeal, because it would be a conflict if you are going to claim that you did not have the effective assistance of counsel. But he can file your notice and turn the file over to whoever will do your appeal.

It sounds like you also feel that the jury went against the weight of the evidence in convicting you. Please keep in mind that a higher court won't reevaluate the facts of the case. They leave that squarely with the trial court who had the benefit of seeing and hearing everything that happened. The court will look for mistakes of law and errors in the judge's ruling and also assess the fundamental fairness of your tria,.

If you don't know whare to go in order to find an appeals lawyer you can contact your local bar associations legal referral service. If you were elegible for a public defender, there are also appellate defenders. Your lawyer could get one assigned for you.

If you have gone beyond the 30 days to file your notice of appeal, you can be limited as to the grounds that you that you can assert for your appeal. About the only one that would be left to you would be having learned about some newly discovered evidence that were it known about before your trial, would have resulted in an acquittal. I don't see that you have anything like that going for you. But you can see what an appeals lawyer thinks after he's seen the file.

Good luck!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I took the stand and confessed my guilt for all that i was guilty att asked me the questions that made me confess to all that i was being charged with except for one thing.. dui of marijuana? PLEASE i really need to know for sure that i can appeal this conviction on the grounds of malpractice? is this possibly a mistrial? What happens next? can the judge deny my appeal? THis little trial happened a week and a half ago and sentensing is wednesday. is that the day and time to appeal? before the sentense comes down? Yes i was convicted of everything and then some. What do you mean when you say a higher court wont reevaluate this case trial went through district court are you saying it wont be brought to superior court? you say "they leave thatin the court where the case was heard" I dont think that court will be fair to me and WHAT will they be deciding that they made MISTAKES OF THE LAW? ERRORS Of the JUDGES RULINGS and fundi fairness to me? The COURT is the JUDGE right? I know that if i appeal its gonna piss them/him OFF! How does that work? please does the court/judge accept appeal then later go thru and decide if i can appeal?should i have an appeal there looking to see reason for appeal?do you think thats a fundanmentally fair trial for a person if they were malpracticed by their public pretender? Isnt it called incompetencey?Malpractise for doctors?or lawyrrs too? can the court/judge deny a appeal or should i just get the appeal lawyer before court wed.?PLEASE Answer all the questios best of you ability..i just need to know what you think will happen to me?

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
Hello Jacustomer,

Thanks for clarifying. You are not too late to appeal. You are too early. You have to wait until after you are formally sentenced in order to appeal. At that point you have 30 days to file something called a notice of appeal. All that does is to put the state on notice that you will be appealing your case. Your lawyer can do that for you if you ask and secure you an appellate defender. Your appellate defender will have to order the complete trial transcript and go through it all looking for errors caused by the judge, by the prosecutor and/or by your lawyer that may have cost you the trial. You would generally talk to him or her at some point and tell the lawyer what you think went wrong. He would look for evidence of that as well as other possibilities when he goes through the whole record of the case and trial. Then he would draft the appeal.

Judges don't get annoyed when a defendant appeals. It is his Constitutional right and the trial judge has nothing to do with it. The appeal goes to a different, usually a higher, court. The appeal is done on papers. There's no trial. You never have to be there in the court, and for the most part, neither does your lawyer. The judges read your lawyer's argument as well as the prosecutor's and look at the record for themselves. If your appeal is denied, that's usually it. If your conviction is reversed, you would likely be granted a new trial.

As this appears to be a misdemeanor trial and getting the official record from the court reporter can take months you may actually end up serving your sentence before this case could get heard. So an appeal may not get you what you want. However, if you are to be incarcerated after your sentencing, there is such a possibility as bail pending appeal. That would give you the ability to remain out, perhaps until your appeal was decided. This has to be arranged for quickly after the sentencing, so you are going to need to talk to your lawyer about this as well.

It is already 12:30 here where I am and I am turning in for the night shortly. If you have additional follow ups just reply like you did before and I will get to them in the morning.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
is it enough for an appeal that my atty.cost me the trial by putting me on the witness stand against myself (states no.1 witness)...Would the appellate atty. draft the appeal if he really didnt think i would win the appeal? Do you think its really worth it, just because i wasnt fairly treated and misrepresented? From just what ive told youa about taking the stand against myself, and confessions i made and the atty. that didnt give me effective counsel, is it really7 worth it by the time its done i am without my license for a year, probation and its costs, drug assessments and costs, court fines and penalltys ect poss. incarceration? sounds like im stuck with throwing myself under the bus.. should i just let it go..i guess you need to kno im not concerned with jail time. its about the MALPRACTICE by the pub.def. and then next its all about the money. please tell me if the costly sentensing can be in this case pending appeal? in other words if they can arrange putting off incarceration until after appeal.. can they arrange the other portions of penalty enforced AFTER the pending appeal. HEY just answer tomorrow goodnite
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.
Hello Jacustomer,

No defendant is required to take the stand because in a trial, the defense has no burden of proof. It is the prosecutor who must prove everything and beyond a reasonable doubt. Some defendants wish to take the stand and look forward to the day to be able to finally tell their story to a jury. Other defendants would rather not. And sometimes, like I told you before the only way the defendant can get his theory of defense out is if he takes the stand.

If you did not wish to take the stand and your attorney made you, if you took the stand without his having prepared you for what you would likely be asked by your lawyer and by the prosecutor, and if that could have made the difference to your case, then you can try to appeal on the grounds of ineffective assistance, and/or hire a private lawyer to sue your attorney.

Thanks for letting me know that you are not facing jail time. You will be through with much, if not all, of your sentence before any appeal could be heard. Though you might have been able to get bail pending appeal (most don't) if you were setenced to jail, if you are not incarcerated, you will be required to do your sentence. So, all the way around, an appeal may not be practical for you. You're probably not going to want a new trial, for example while you're just about finished with the sentence on the old one.

However, if what you are really concerned about primarily is malpractice and getting financial compensation for what you were put through, then the answer is to sue and not appeal. One problem however is that there is no right to a free lawyer in a civil suit. You would have to be able to pay someone. There is such a thing called a contingency plan. That's when a lawyer takes a case without any money (except for court filing fees and incidental expenses). Instead, he gets paid only if he wins your case or if he gets you a settlement that you agree to. Then he'd get something like 40% for his efforts.

Contiingency lawyers take only cases they believe they can win which they believe will get them an award worth the time and the wait. You can start hunting for one, since many lawyers have free consultations. They will evaluate the facts and see if you've got a potential winner.