What Are the Grounds for Appeal in North Dakota?
If you think a legal error or mistake was made when you were convicted of a crime or sentenced, then you may be eligible to file a criminal appeal under North Dakota law. An appeal is a legal argument made to a higher court – such as the North Dakota Court Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court – that legal errors during the trial in lower court and such errors negatively affected your ability to obtain a fair legal outcome.
Keep in mind, any sort of error, irregularity, or defect that does not impact a defendant or their rights is considered a “harmless error.” Such errors do not have grounds for reversing a lower court’s judgment.
The following are the most common grounds for a criminal appeal:
- Discovery of new evidence – Important evidence that was not discovered or unavailable until after trial, or overlooked.
- Ineffective assistance of counsel – The defendant's attorney’s performance was inadequate and the lawyer’s inadequacy impacted the result of the case.
- Prosecutorial misconduct – The prosecution acted unfairly or unlawfully – such as admission of false testimony or intentional omission of favorable evidence for the defense – during the trial in lower court.
- The weight of the evidence fails to support the verdict – The evidence presented at trial was legally insufficient to establish a guilty verdict.
- Juror misconduct – Common examples include speaking to others about the case, withholding information during jury selection, and making a decision by lot or compromise.
During the appeals process, a panel of judges will review the lower court’s decision and the handling of your case without considering any new evidence. If the panel finds legal errors were made during the criminal process, the lower court’s conviction could be reversed, or the defendant is granted a new trial.
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Filing an appeal is complex, which is why you need our experienced appellate attorney to help you obtain the outcome and justice you deserve. We can listen to your story, build an effective and personalized appeals strategy, and protect rights and freedom from start to finish.
Contact us today to speak with our Bismarck appellate lawyer and learn how we can help you and your family.