Sex Crime Appeals Attorney in Michigan
If you or a loved have been convicted by trial or plead guilty or no contest in the state of Michigan for a sex crime, you should strongly consider a criminal appeal. Nothing is over yet, and you have not run out of viable options. An appeal can be the best stage to present your case and win you or a significant others’ freedom. The facts have already been presented and the issues have been refined, and oftentimes you just need a slightly different approach to present a perspective to get the outcome you need. In addition, having a skilled appeals attorney to review every facet of the case file can have a massive impact on being successful. This could be placing more emphasis on a particular piece of evidence or operative fact of the case, or maybe getting the judge to reconsider an evidentiary motion that really should have gone your way at trial. The particular facts and circumstances of each person’s case will be different, but the appeal is the time and place to get it right and get justice.
There have been stellar advancements made in the field of forensic science and DNA testing and polygraph reliability. Innocent people are convicted of horrible crimes they have not committed, including criminal sexual conduct, rape, molestation, and other sex crimes without definitive proof that they are actually the person that committed the offense. Sometimes people will completely fabricate charges, because they are deceitful or looking for money or revenge. In other circumstances, traumatized victims who know that they have been badly hurt by a crime, but are not sure who actually committed the crime will point their finger at the first reasonable suspect.
Confronted with a person in a line up, the traumatized victim may be compelled to pursue any form of justice they can in the face of uncertainty. This creates a tremendous amount of pressure for average people serving on a jury to sympathize with the victim of a terrible crime. Sex crimes are considered especially egregious, and it can be difficult for even the most well-reasoned people of our citizenry to remain impartial in the face of overwhelming grief, pain, and anguish. This is where Grabel & Associates team of experienced attorneys shine. We are here to untangle this web of information, facts, and testimony and coherently present your case to an appellate judge for his review. Let’s talk about some of the procedural formalities of conducting a criminal appeal, then discuss how we can help you achieve a favorable outcome.
Enforce Your Constitutional Rights to Appeal
Often times we can get hung up thinking about the law as a system of rules meant to protect the public from people who commit crimes, but we live in America and our constitution also protects innocent people from receiving unjust punishments for crimes they are falsely accused of. Some of the rights that all Americans enjoy are:
- The right to an attorney
- The right to a speedy trial
- The right to due process under the law
- The right to confront your accuser
- The right to not testify against yourself
- The right to be free from illegal search and seizure
Bail After a Conviction: Awaiting Appeal
MCL 770.9a is a law that does not allow bail to people that have already been convicted of a crime that is considered an assaultive crime. Similarly, MCL 770.9b refuses bail to anyone who has assaulted a minor. Consequently, if you have been convicted of a crime that includes assaultive conduct or a criminal sexual assault against a minor, then you may not be eligible for bail while awaiting appeal or during the appeal. Assaultive crimes include, criminal sexual conduct first degree, criminal sexual conduct second degree, and assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct. You can confer with one of Grabel & Associates knowledgeable sex crimes attorneys if you would like a more definitive answer on the likelihood that you can win bail during your appeals process.
However, there is an exception that allows a person convicted and sentenced of an assaultive crime to still obtain bail for the duration of the appeal. Before we review the criteria, it is worth noting that the exception is not available to a person who has been convicted of sexually assaulting a minor. To prove the exceptions allowing bail applies to a person convicted of a crime involving assaultive conduct, it is necessary to prove to the court by clear and convincing evidence that the person waiting for their appeal does not pose a danger to other people. Additionally, if it can be shown the defendant’s appeal includes a substantial question of law or fact on appeal, then the court may grant bail even if the underlying crime is assaultive in nature.
Motion for a New Trial: Using Polygraph Results
A polygraph is essentially a lie detector test that uses different physiological sensors to read physical stress signals. Base-line questions such as a person’s age, the date, or other verifiably true information are asked as control questions, then the stress responses to the control questions are compared to the stress responses from the more probative questions about the substance of the allegations and material facts of the case. The polygraph operator interprets the results to evaluate the person’s truthfulness. Consequently, a polygraph is a very powerful tool to exonerate a person falsely accused of committing a criminal sexual conduct or related sex crime.
MCL 776.21 governs the law regarding polygraph tests and accusations of criminal sexual conduct. Under this law, if you are being accused of a criminal sexual conduct or a related sex crime against another person, then you have a right to request to take a polygraph to prove your innocence. Additionally, the statute specifically states that if you pass the polygraph in a way that indicates you did not commit the offense, then a law enforcement officer is required to inform the accuser that you have taken a lie detector test and it indicated that you may not have committed the crime.
This is an important right that you cannot forfeit even if you elected not to take a polygraph test at the beginning of the process. You keep your right to take a polygraph test all the way up to a finding of guilt at trial. Additionally, Grabel & Associates can arrange for you to take a polygraph test with a qualified and respected polygraph operator. What you need to know is that this tool can be used in the post-conviction phase of the legal proceedings to make a motion for a completely new trial.
The courts have determined that there are nine factors that must be considered when deciding whether to grant a person a new trial based on polygraph results. We have consolidated the nine factors below into the criteria that are either mandatory or should be considered when deciding whether to pursue a new trial based on polygraph results.
The polygraph must be taken voluntarily by the defendant, and the quality of the equipment and procedures used must both be approved. There is a rule that the prosecutor or the court may ask the accused to undergo another polygraph test using a polygraph operator of the court’s choosing to ensure results are reliable. Additionally, the court can require that their own independent polygraph operator review the original polygraph test results. If a new trial is granted, then the affidavits and testimony of the polygraph operator shall be kept in a separate record, and cannot be used in any way at the new trial or at any subsequent proceedings. Finally, the judge that issues you a new trial cannot preside over that new trial, unless there is also a jury at the new trial. If a different judge presides over the new trial, then they cannot be privy to the polygraph examination or the results.
You can also request that all DNA evidence that was collected be compared against your own DNA. Any physical materials collected as part of the case may be tested to prove your innocence. DNA evidence has been instrumental in proving many people’s innocence and clearing them of all charges.
State Court Appeals: Felonies
By far the most common cases we see that are ripe for appeal are criminal felonies that were adjudicated in the local circuit court. If you have been convicted of a felony in a Michigan circuit court, then the next stage of the process is appealing to the Michigan Court of Appeals. If you went to trial and were found guilty, then you have an “appeal of right.” This means that your request for an appeal cannot be denied, but you have to move quickly. You only have 42 days to file an appeal after sentencing. If your sentence was excessive, then you also may be able to appeal your sentence. Next, it is necessary to procure transcripts for all of the proceedings including, pretrial hearings, trial, and sentencing. If you retain Grabel & Associates this entire process is part of our representation of your legal interests.
Next, you need to prepare a brief on appeal. At this stage of the legal proceedings, you should really have a qualified appellate attorney writing your brief. These are dense technical essays that comprise a fusion of the particular facts of your case with the pertinent case law leaning in your favor. There will also be an opportunity to submit a pleading called a reply brief to the prosecution’s answer. This is an opportunity to contest the prosecution’s positions. Finally, oral arguments will take place before the court issues an opinion in one or two months.
Our commitment to practicing criminal law in the state of Michigan uniquely positions us to help you in your criminal appeal. We have handled thousands of cases and we have practiced in front of the judges and prosecutors all over the entire state of Michigan. We are in a position to bring our resources and experience to bear to compile the facts, circumstances, and situation of your case to create the best outcome possible.
Evidentiary motions can be crucial and a determining factor in the final disposition of a criminal case. Consequently, Grabel & Associates will uncover any evidence improperly used or excluded in your case. We work tirelessly to scrutinize all aspects of the investigation, arrest, and trial conviction to produce an innovative defense at appeal.
State Court Appeals: Misdemeanors
Misdemeanor appeals follow a very similar path of pleadings, briefs, and paperwork to a felony appeal. However, the courts and time lines are different. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, then you will be appealing your case from district court, so your appeal will be filed in the circuit court of the county where you were convicted. You will need to order transcripts from the prior proceedings, and submit your claim of appeal to your local circuit court within 21 days after sentencing. You will have 28 days to file your brief on appeal, then you can also prepare a response to the prosecutor’s brief. This pleading is called a reply.
Oral arguments will be held before the judge issues an oral or written opinion. Oftentimes the court of appeals sits en banc which means there are three judges who preside over the appeal. However, at the circuit court there will only be one judge that issues his or her opinion, so in many ways a cohesive, coherent, and compelling presentation is even more vital. If the decision in Circuit Court is unfavorable your next step is to file a claim at the Michigan Court of Appeals which has previously been discussed.
Grabel & Associates Approach to Sex Crime Appeal
We approach post-conviction relief as a criminal defense team by combining experience, strengths, and expertise from multiple intelligent specialist sex crime attorneys to achieve a favorable result. We will closely examine all facets of your investigation, arrest, trial, and ultimate conviction to provide the best defense for your Michigan sex crime appeal. The expert representation of Grabel & Associates will ensure that you and your case receive the attention and fair treatment that you deserve.
Contact us to Begin Crafting Your Individualized Success Story
Your appeal is important to us, and we want to perform our best work for you and your family. Our knowledge, expertise, and extensive experience will help you to create a dramatically better outcome for your future, your family, and yourself. If you or someone you know has been convicted or plead guilty or no contest to a sex crime, then call the talented team of attorneys at Grabel and Associates to begin the process of crafting your personalized, aggressive, and comprehensive post-conviction legal defense strategy.
Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how to appeal your sex crime case. We represent sex crime cases at all stages of the legal process, and post-conviction relief is no exception. We have been trying and winning sex crime cases such as gross indecency, criminal sexual conduct, and indecent exposure cases and appeals for more than 19 years. We have an intimate understanding of the courts and judges in Michigan and know what it takes to get an outstanding case result. Call us at 1-800-883-2138 to schedule your free consultation today.