Violent crimes happen all-too frequently in Washington State. People want to feel safe and trust law enforcement and the court system to deal with those who have been accused of committing violent felonies like rape and murder. While the goal is to penalize people who have been found guilty, those facing trial and incarceration still have rights. One important aspect of any criminal case is the right to appeal to various higher courts. Anyone who is facing a criminal conviction should understand that they have the right to appeal.
Man convicted of murder can appeal to higher court
A man who was convicted of abducting, raping and murdering an 18-year-old woman in 1989 appealed his conviction to the Washington State Court of Appeals, but it was upheld. Even with that, he can appeal to the Washington State Supreme Court. The man, now 53, appealed a conviction from 2019 after a law from 1990 was wrongfully applied when he was convicted. It should have been the 1989 law. However, the court decided that the error was harmless. In addition, the court rejected the man’s challenge of the DNA and other evidence.
In 2019, he had been sentenced to 27 years. The man also has another appeal pending that calls into question the denial issued by a Superior Court judge when the he asked for an evidentiary hearing. According to the judge, the evidence was available for the defense and they could have pursued it prior to the trial. A request for relief from judgment was also rejected. This case is still pending.
An appeal can be effective in overturning a conviction
Although the charges in this case are serious, it does not mean that the man convicted of the crimes is guilty, had a fair trial and should not be allowed to pursue options to overturn the conviction. The evidence must be scrutinized to determine if mistakes were made in its collection, analysis and testing procedures. Law enforcement, prosecutors and judges are not infallible. They too make errors that may be sufficient to get a new trial or to have the charges dismissed.
Professional representation can be a guide through the appeals process
There will inevitably be a negative perception to people who have been convicted of violent crimes. That does not mean they are guilty or the case was conducted in an aboveboard and legal manner. Appeals and post-conviction relief is a foundational aspect of the justice system and anyone who is confronted with harsh consequences and a criminal record should be cognizant of how to appeal their case. This is true even if appeals were denied by lower courts. Having professional advice from the beginning is vital.