Grounds for an Appeal in New Mexico

Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

New Mexico Criminal Defense Attorney - New Mexico Criminal Law OfficesOur criminal courts are not perfect and occasionally mistakes are made that lead to innocent people being convicted.   

In New Mexico, the defendant in a criminal case has a statutory right to file an appeal of any conviction, regardless of the circumstances of the case and the trial.

An appeal is a request from a defendant in a lower court proceeding to a higher appellate court asking the appellate court to review and change the decision of the lower court.

If the appellate court grants the appeal, it may reverse, modify, or affirm the lower court’s ruling in whole or in part.

Ground for an appeal in New Mexico

In the US judicial system, there is generally an institutional preference for the lower court’s ruling. This means that unless the appellate court finds that the mistake(s) made by the lower court had a substantial impact on the trial results, it will not grant an appeal.

So, an appeal must be made on the basis that a substantial legal or procedural error or misconduct occurred during your trial, which resulted in the defendant being wrongfully convicted.

The following issues constitute grounds for an appeal of a lower court’s ruling in New Mexico:

Questions of Procedural Justice
Any evidence indicating that a judge failed to follow proper legal procedure during the course of the trial constitutes grounds for an appeal.

Issues Concerning Evidence
For example, if a judge incorrectly allows or excludes evidence at trial that is prejudicial against the defendant, this may constitute grounds for an appeal.

Application of Legal Principle
If a judge makes an incorrect ruling from the bench during a trial, his or her mistake may constitute grounds for an appeal.

Other Grounds
Additionally, any of the following may constitute grounds for an appeal of a conviction in lower court:

  • Jury Misconduct
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel
  • Lack of evidence to support a conviction
  • New evidence

The appeals process is not only for those convicted of violating New Mexico laws. Even those convicted of federal offenses in the United States District Court of New Mexico are entitled to appeal their conviction in the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

All appeals, however, must be handled skillfully and in a timely fashion and typically will require the assistance of a skillful appellate attorney to present the case.

If you feel that you or a loved one was wrongfully convicted due to legal or procedural errors or misconduct during a criminal trial and need a knowledgeable appellate attorney to guide you through the appellate process, contact the attorneys at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices at  505-375-4767 for a free case evaluation.