When a verdict is rendered, it brings one part of the court proceeding to an end. However, in Hawaii, that does not necessarily mean that the matter is concluded. If a defendant is found guilty, he has a right to appeal his conviction to a higher court in certain circumstances. He is legally allowed to do so if the bases of his appeal meet the rigorous legal standards required for such an action. The errors that are substantial enough to send his case to an appellate court are referred to as “plain” errors.
Plain errors occur when the defendant’s team perceives that there were egregious problems with some facet of the court proceedings, the application of the law or something that pertains to the finding of guilt. The decision to appeal rests on more than just a “harmless” inaccuracy, or a minor error that doesn’t pertain to the material facts of the case.
These problematic issues in a court’s decision used to appeal a conviction are:
•The trial court made a grave error in its ruling.
•The verdict was incongruent with the preponderance of the evidence.
•The presence of abuse in the ruling of the lower court was established.
•The defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to have effective counsel was woefully violated.
Court proceedings have checks and balances that protect the defendant’s right to a fair trial. Where he feels his legal rights were violated, or the unfavorable outcome of the case was due to procedural, prosecutorial or other misconduct, the law makes a way for his case to be heard at a higher level. These allegations form the basis of his appeal.