Some people who are convicted of a crime through a jury trial might decide to appeal the conviction or sentence. It is vital that anyone who is considering doing this understands some very important aspects of filing a criminal appeal in Missouri. One of the most important points that must be considered is the type of error that is the basis of the appeal. A criminal conviction can't be filed unless there is an error that serves as the basis of the appeal; however, not all errors that occur can serve as the basis of the appeal.
What is a harmless error?
A harmless error is one that wouldn't have significantly impacted the outcome of the case. Harmless errors aren't considered a suitable grounds for a criminal appeal.
What is a plain error?
A plain error means that there was an error of law that had a significant impact on your rights. It isn't necessary to bring the plain error to the attention of the lower court in order to file an appeal based on this type of error.
What is a weight of evidence error?
A weight of evidence error is a difficult criminal appeal to mount. In this case, you have to show that the weight of the evidence presented at trial doesn't support the verdict of the trial. This can be difficult because the appellate court can only read the transcript of the trial instead of being able to actually see the presentation of evidence and hear the happenings of the trial.
A criminal appeal is a big step for a person who was convicted of a crime. It is critical that you get your case for an appeal as strong as possible before filing the appeal.
Source: FindLaw, "The Basis for a Criminal Appeal," accessed Dec. 30, 2015