Defendants in Georgia who have been convicted for any crime have certain inalienable rights, including the right to seek justice in the case of wrongful legal proceedings. In many cases, these rights are not clear to the defendant and his or her family members. Knowing your rights is essential to guaranteeing a fair outcome in criminal cases, including when you are entitled to request a new trial. Here is some information you should know about how and when you can claim your rights to receive a new trial in Georgia.
How new trials are requested
The criminal process in Georgia is laid out clearly in Title 5 Appeal and Error § 5-5-40 under state law. Most importantly, perhaps, are time limits: While Georgia law does provide for new trials, in the vast majority of cases, the time frame to request one is limited to within 30 days of the entry of judgment following a verdict. Outside of that time period, most defendants have forfeited their rights to request a new trial. Regardless of the type of criminal conviction, all defendants in Georgia have the right to due process as guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions.
Examples of reasons for a retrial
There are several reasons that a defendant might be successful in requesting a retrial on a case. These can include introduction of newly discovered evidence, juror bias or misconduct, and errors during the court proceedings. Although getting a retrial is rare, experienced attorneys may file these motions on behalf of their clients if there is even a small chance of success.
New trials in death penalty cases
Georgia law provides for the death penalty in certain criminal cases. Motions for retrial in cases of the death penalty receive priority over all other requests. Because of the serious nature of this most extreme criminal penalty, the courts have a higher responsibility to make sure that all of the appropriate legal protections were afforded to the accused before the sentence is rendered.
The burden falls on the defendant and his or her counsel in requesting a new trial. Even if it’s a long shot, pushing for a new trial and exhausting every avenue to achieve that goal may be necessary to win justice in cases where a new trial is warranted.