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Man’s criminal case illustrates part of appeal process

As described in previous blog posts, there is a difference between civil and criminal appeals. Civil cases can involve a wide variety of legal matters in which the law was not broken – such as employment, personal injury, property damage and business disputes. Criminal cases occur when someone has committed a crime. In both categories, it may be possible to appeal a verdict in Nevada and other states, based on certain factors.

What people may not initially understand is that they cannot appeal a ruling if they are simply unhappy with the results. There must have been a mistake somewhere during the legal process with strong evidence that the case may have been adversely influenced as a result.

Recently, a Las Vegas man currently on death row was awarded an appeal for a different case involving a sexual assault and robbery. A panel of three judges determined that during his original trial, the judge should not have denied his request to represent himself.

Criminal cases are vastly different from civil ones, but the above example shows how a possible miscarriage of justice must have been present to allow a litigant the chance to appeal. In civil cases, a variety of factors, including hidden evidence, juror bias, a conflict of interest involving the lawyers or other incidents that should not happen during a trial, may provide an opportunity for appeal. Litigants have the right to a fair trial, which they do not receive if there is a mistake during the process. The appeals procedure is usually complex, and competent representation is necessary.

Source: Las Vegas Now, “Death row inmate in Vegas Strip case wins separate appeal,” Dec. 16, 2016

John P. Aldrich
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