Appeal Process: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

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Appeals Process: Guilty Until Proven Innocent Angela Brown Introduction to the Criminal Justice System November 19, 2012 Prof. James W. Jackson Introduction An appeal is usually filed when a defendant to a case believes that a trial court incorrectly applied the law, or that a finding by a judge or jury is not supported by the evidence. The purpose of an appeal is not to retry the case, but to see if the lower court proceedings were conducted properly. As strange as it may seem, the failure of an attorney to make an objection on the record at a trial can cost a client the right to appeal. A trial counsel's failure to make an objection may be construed as "trial strategy." Good trial strategy often requires attorneys to pick their battles, which may involve refraining from making certain objections. On appeal, an attorney's error may well be regarded as failed trial strategy, which rarely provides grounds for successful appeal. An appeal is made from the trial court "record." The record usually consists of a transcript of trial court proceedings, documents in the lower court file, and exhibits accepted during lower court proceedings. If a trial attorney does not properly "make a record" on a motion or objection, once again, that failure may hinder or prevent an appeal on that issue. In this paper I am going to present a case in which the appeal was denied. In my opinion wrongfully denied, thus another innocent man trapped in the criminal justice system for the rest of his life. Proven innocence in this case is so profound it’s unremarkable. The case is the People of the State of Michigan v Shaun Scott, Case No. 92-0779, Wayne County Circuit Court. Shaun Scott was convicted of first degree murder. Shawn Minter, the sole eyewitness, testified that he observed Mr. Scott strike the victim numerous times with a baseball bat about the head. Vol. I,

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