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Motions for a New Trial in California

Posted in Criminal Defense on March 19, 2020

Many people think that when someone is convicted of a crime and given a sentence that the whole situation is over with. However, that is not necessarily the case. A defendant and their attorney may appeal the case. A defender convicted of a crime at a trial may also make a motion to seek a new trial. This would essentially restart the case with a new jury. Obtaining a motion for a new trial is not easy, but it can be successful under certain circumstances. Here, we explore the main reasons that motion for a new trial they need to be made for the defendant.

Understanding types of motions

Generally, a motion for a new trial will be successful based on a serious injustice that arose during the trial period.

New trials based on legal errors

If there was a significant mistake of law that occurred during the trial, a judge may grant a new trial. In general, motions for a new trial are reviewed by the same judge that made the alleged mistake. This may seem like your fate is in the hands of a biased person, but the truth is that a trial judge may wish to see a new trial as opposed to having their ruling overturned on an appeal.

Legal errors may revolve around the admission or exclusion of evidence in the case. Rules surrounding evidence, particularly hearsay, can be complicated. Judges may make a mistake about whether or not an exception to the hearsay rules applies in a case. However, it needs to be shown that an error had a significant impact on the case in order for a new trial to be granted.

New trials based on exculpatory evidence

To be granted a new trial based on exculpatory evidence, it needs to be shown that the evidence could have potentially influenced the outcome of the case. The defense will need to show that they were unaware of the evidence in question during the trial and that there was no way they could have discovered it while the trial was ongoing.

A judge will look at whether or not the conviction would have been obtained anyway, as well as if the evidence would have added any new component to the defense’s case. An example of how exculpatory evidence might justify granting a motion for a new trial is when the defense finds a witness central to the theory of their case.

Jury bias

A central tenant of the judicial system in this country is a trial by a jury of somebody’s peers. The jury should be as unbiased as possible when determining guilt or innocence. However, there are times when is juror’s bias is revealed through various court documents or statements from other jurors. If it can be shown that the juror’s bias prevented a defendant from receiving a fair trial, a motion for a new trial may be granted.

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If you or somebody you care about has been convicted of a crime at trial, you may be exploring your options for an appeal or even a motion for a new trial. At the Law Offices of Graham Donath, APC, our skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyers are ready to get to work on your case immediately. We understand that there are various reasons a defendant may need to make a motion for a new trial, and we will review every aspect of your case. These situations can become incredibly complex, so contact a skilled criminal defense attorney in California today. You can contact us for a consultation on your case by clicking here or by calling as soon as possible.