Many appeals are based on written briefs, during which no Hollywood-esque enactments take place. However, some appeals do include an oral argument before the court, which can be more compelling, or more devastating to the defendant’s cause, depending on the circumstances of the case. Each side, the prosecution and defense, is generally awarded 15 minutes to state their claims to the judge or panel of judges. One such example of a compelling oral argument took place recently in Illinois with two identical twin brothers, both serving long prison sentences.
Two Twin Brothers Serving Long Prison Sentences Heard During Dramatic Court of Appeals Oral Argument
In a bizarre day in Cook County court, two identical twin brothers sat adjacent in different-colored prison uniforms. One had been sentenced to 54 years in prison for a murder committed in 2003. The other was also serving time: a 99-year sentence for being involved in a robbery that ended with a six-year-old being shot in the head and killed in 2008, according to the Chicago Tribune. The strange aspect of this appeal was that the brother who was serving the 99-year sentence decided to plead guilty to the murder for which his brother was serving time. Prosecutors argued that the two identical twins allegedly colluded with one another in this appeals since the one serving the 99-year sentence had nothing to lose by taking on the prison sentence of the other. At this time, there is no word from the judge as to when a decision will be made. While many believe that any case can be appealed at any time, in order for this appeal or any other appeal to even take place, there must be a legal basis. There must be some alleged trial error, according to the American Bar Association.
The Right of Appeals for Criminal Defendants
While most court of appeals decisions are final, a secondary appeals may be awarded if there is ample support to suggest an alleged violation of civil rights. These appeals are heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. As such, criminal defendants have an additional safety net over civil cases when it comes to court appeals. Even if they exhaust all of their appeal rights at the state level first, they may file a writ of habeas corpus in federal court. As such, they argue that their constitutional rights were violated. However, it is important to keep in mind that an appeal does not constitute a new trial in which previously excluded evidence or witnesses are admitted. An appeal is solely an examination of the original case, in which there were alleged errors or errors of legal interpretation made by the judge.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Criminal Appeals Attorney Today
If you have been wrongly convicted of a crime that you did not commit, there may yet be hope in the form of either a written brief or compelling oral argument before the court. No matter the original charge, call the criminal appeals attorneys of Barney and Hourihane today at 312-854-0906 for immediate assistance.