The Importance of a Competent Trial Attorney to Preserve all Potential Appellate Issues

Criminal defendants in the State of New York may often feel like they are playing Russian roulette with all of the variables affecting their case which may be out of their control. The assignment of a certain prosecutor, judge, or jury to a case can have an outsized influence on the result of a case. When defendants are convicted upon illegal or improper evidence and tactics by the state, the right to an appeal can be the final chance a defendant has to vindicate themselves from a conviction. The New York Appellate Division recently addressed an appeal that was filed by a defendant who had been convicted of several violent crimes and challenged the police and prosecution conduct pertaining to his arrest and conviction.

The defendant in the recently decided appeal was convicted in early 2020 of manslaughter and several lesser crimes after a jury trial. The defendant appealed his conviction, arguing that the trial court made several errors in his prosecution. The defendant’s primary challenge was to the use of a police lineup for purposes of identification. Before his prosecution, the defendant was included in a lineup with several others. Under New York law, investigators are allowed to use a police lineup for identification purposes, but the participants must be sufficiently similar in appearance to the defendant so as to not orient the witness toward the defendant. The Appellate Division determined that the other participants in the lineup used in this case met that requirement, and the defendant’s appeal of this issue was rejected by the court.

The defendant also challenged a certain line of questioning pursued by the prosecutor when the defendant himself was testifying in his defense. The prosecutor asked the defendant to state on the record whether another witness was lying to the jury. The  court determined that this question was not proper, however, the defendant’s trial attorney failed to object to the question at the time it was asked, and the court refused to consider the issue because it was not properly preserved for appellate review. In issues of grave error, an appellate court may address an unpreserved issue, but the bar is much higher to pass for such consideration. Because the defendant’s trial counsel failed to object to the questioning, the  court refused to reverse the defendant’s conviction.

Have You Been Arrested for a Violent Crime in New York?

If you have been arrested or charged with a violent crime, having a skilled defense attorney by your side from the start can help prevent the worst consequences of an unfair prosecution or illegal police tactics. The skilled NY criminal defense lawyers at Tilem and Associates have decades of experience representing New Yorkers accused of crimes, and our attorneys know the importance of making appropriate objections and preserving issues for appeal. If you’re being accused of a crime, our dedicated advocates will fight from start to finish to help you beat the charges. Tilem and Associates represent clients charged with all New York felonies and misdemeanors, including gun crimes and homicides. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call us at 877-377-8666 or contact us through our website today.

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