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New Trial – Reasons For a Second Chance

When a criminal trial results in a guilty verdict, the convicted person may wish to file a motion for a new trial. This practice is relatively common and the success of the motion depends on the reason for the request. The court will usually only consider such a request if the defense produces a compelling argument to show that the original verdict should be rendered invalid.

Reasons for a New Trial

If a defendant wishes to file a motion for a new trial, they can attempt to convince the court to grant their request in several ways. They may try to introduce new evidence or prove misconduct on the part of the jury. However, any new evidence that the defense introduces to support these claims must meet several requirements.

New Evidence

  • Any new evidence must be demonstrably different from evidence used in the original trial.
  • Any new evidence must have been unknown to the defense during the trial and must have been discovered after the trial ended.
  • The evidence is substantial enough to have the potential to create a different verdict at a new trial.
  • The evidence must have been unknown during the trial despite the defendant’s efforts to gain new evidence.

Unjust Trial

In some rare cases, a judge may decide that a defendant received a guilty verdict as the result of an improper or unjust trial. This could be due to one of several reasons:

  • Jury Bias

Despite efforts to screen potential jurors, it is possible that a juror may have preconceived notions about the defendant that affect their ability to be impartial.

Sometimes a verdict is affected because jurors break the rules regarding proper juror conduct. This can happen if jurors discuss the case with others or with each other outside of court.

  • Conflict of Interest

If the judge, the prosecutor, defense lawyer or a jury member has a conflict of interest regarding the defendant, this could affect the verdict. For example, a judge that personally knows the defendant and fails to excuse himself or herself from the trial may have a conflict of interest.

If you have been convicted of a crime and are considering petitioning for a new trial, then give Shahin Zamir a call at 713-223-8900.