The judicial process is sometimes slow and sometimes complicated, but justice can prevail in the end.
After a hard-fought jury trial, Dontrelon Thomas was found guilty of armed robbery and faced a possible prison sentence of 10-99 years. During the trial, certain procedural errors were made, that, as the trial attorney, I objected to. I objected based on the grounds that inadmissible evidence was allowed to be presented to the jury. After the inadmissible evidence was introduced, the jury, which was deadlocked at that time, found in favor of the State. I want to emphasize that we strenuously objected to this evidence on numerous occasions on the record.
Conviction Reversed on Appeal
Despite the verdict, we continued the fight on behalf of Dontrelon Thomas. The matter was appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals by co-counsel Chad Ikerd. During the trial, and in the appellate brief, we argued that the introduction of the evidence required a reversal of the verdict. In a unanimous decision, the Third Circuit Court agreed and reversed the armed robbery conviction. The Court specifically noted that the defense attorney (me) strenuously objected to the introduction of the evidence, and because of the objections and the fact that the evidence should not have been presented to the jury, the Third Circuit agreed with our position.
Reversal Due to Inadmissible Evidence
The lesson to be learned here is that there are specific procedures that need to be followed in order to have a fair trial. If evidence is admitted improperly, the trial attorney must recognize that the evidence is inadmissible and object on the record. Then an appeal must be filed to the appeals court explaining why proper trial procedure was not followed. An experienced criminal defense trial attorney will recognize when something is not admissible and will know to object.
Sometimes the fight for justice lasts long after the trial. This is why you need a criminal attorney who 1) has jury trial experience to know if a trial is fair or not, and 2) will continue to fight for you.