Because a sex crime conviction can have long lasting consequences, a strong defense in court is crucial. In the event a jury or judge does hand down a conviction, it is not necessarily the end of the story. Under some circumstances, a person may appeal the conviction to a higher court to try to get it overturned.
As FindLaw explains, a substantial error must have occurred that negatively influenced the result of the case. An appeal is unlikely to succeed if minor errors happened that had no bearing on the outcome. A substantial error may involve the behavior of the court or the representation of the legal counsel of the defendant.
Evidence that does not support the verdict
In some cases, a person may argue that the evidence did not support a guilty verdict. This is not always easy because while appellate courts can review trial transcripts, they rarely view the presentation of evidence or hear the testimony of witnesses. However, the use of DNA evidence may reveal whether a judge should have allowed or disallowed certain evidence that could have led to an acquittal.
Court errors and abuse
Sometimes a court commits a plain error that impairs the rights of a defendant. For instance, a judge may miscalculate a sentence following a conviction. Sometimes a court may go further and impose a ruling that goes against the law or the facts presented in the case. A defendant may argue that the actions of a judge were completely arbitrary with no basis in the law or the facts of the case.
Ineffectual legal counsel
Some defendants are not well served by their attorneys. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution states that Americans have a right to representation and a fair trial. Legal counsel that is incompetent and ineffective may negatively affect the outcome of a case, which may form the basis of an appeal.
Appeals by the prosecution
A person acquitted by a court of a sex crime may worry that the prosecution may also try to appeal the case. According to the American Bar Association, prosecutors rarely appeal a case they have lost because it would constitute double jeopardy under the Constitution. A few states do allow prosecutor appeals but only in limited cases to determine a point of law.